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A.D.  1895 

Copyright,  iqn 

All  rights  reserved 


II  . 


THE  reason  for  thinking  that  the  public  may 
be  interested  in  my  father's  recollections  of 
MR.  LINCOLN,  will  be  found  in  the  following  letter 
from  HON.  J.  P.  USHER,  Secretary  of  the  Interior 

during  the  war :  — 

LAWRENCE,  KANSAS,  May  20,  1885. 

Ward  H.  Lamon,  Esq.,  Denver,  Col. 

DEAR  SIR, — There  are  now  but  few  left  who  were 
intimately  acquainted  with  Mr.  Lincoln.  I  do  not  call 
to  mind  any  one  who  was  so  much  with  him  as  yourself. 
You  were  his  partner  for  years  in  the  practice  of  law,  his 
confidential  friend  during  the  time  he  was  President.  I 
venture  to  say  there  is  now  none  living  other  than  your- 
self in  whom  he  so  much  confided,  and  to  whom  he  gave 
free  expression  of  his  feeling  towards  others,  his  trials 
and  troubles  in  conducting  his  great  office.  You  were 
with  him,  I  know,  more  than  any  other  one.  I  think,  in 
view  of  all  the  circumstances  and  of  the  growing  interest 
which  the  rising  generation  takes  in  all  that  he  did  and 
said,  you  ought  to  take  the  time,  if  you  can,  to  commit 
to  writing  your  recollections  of  him,  his  sayings  and 
doings,  which  were  not  necessarily  committed  to  writing 

I  1556  S3 


and  made  public.    Won't  you  do  it?    Can  you  not, 
through  a  series  of  articles  to  be  published  in  some  of  the 
magazines,  lay  before  the  public  a  history  of  his  inner 
life,  so  that  the  multitude  may  read  and  know  much 
more  of  that  wonderful  man?     Although  I  knew  him 
quite  well  for  many  years,  yet  I  am  deeply  interested  in 
all  that  he  said  and  did,  and  I  am  persuaded  that  the 
multitude  of  the  people  feel  a  like  interest. 
Truly  and  sincerely  yours, 
(Signed)  J.  P.  USHER. 

In  compiling  this  little  volume,  I  have  taken  as 
a  foundation  some  anecdotal  reminiscences  already 
published  in  newspapers  by  my  father,  and  have 
added  to  them  from  letters  and  manuscript  left  by 

If  the  production  seems  fragmentary  and  lack- 
ing in  purpose,  the  fault  is  due  to  the  variety  of 
sources  from  which  I  have  selected  the  material. 
Some  of  it  has  been  taken  from  serious  manuscript 
which  my  father  intended  for  a  work  of  history, 
some  from  articles  written  in  a  lighter  vein ;  much 
has  been  gleaned  from  copies  of  letters  which  he 
wrote  to  friends,  but  most  has  been  gathered  from 
notes  jotted  down  on  a  multitude  of  scraps  scat- 
tered through  a  mass  of  miscellaneous  material. 

D.  L. 

March,  1895. 



TN  deciding  to  bring  out  this  book  I  have  had 
in  mind  the  many  letters  to  my  father  from  men 
of  war  times  urging  him  to  put  in  writing  his  recol- 
lections of  Lincoln.  Among  them  is  one  from  Mr. 
Lincoln's  friend,  confidant,  and  adviser,  A.  K. 
McClure,  one  of  the  most  eminent  of  American 
journalists,  founder  and  late  editor  of  "  The  Phila- 
delphia Times,"  of  whom  Mr.  Lincoln  said  in  1864 
that  he  had  more  brain  power  than  any  man  he 
had  ever  known.  Quoted  by  Leonard  Swett,  in  the 
"  North  American  Review,"  the  letter  is  as  fol- 
lows :  — 

PHILADELPHIA,  Sept.  i,  1891. 

Hon.  Ward H.  Lamon,  Carlsbad,  Bohemia: 

MY  DEAR  OLD  FRIEND,  —  ....  I  think  it  a  great 
misfortune  that  you  did  not  write  the  history  of  Lincoln's 
administration.  It  is  much  more  needed  from  your  pen 
than  the  volume  you  published  some  years  ago,  giving  the 
history  of  his  life.  That  straw  has  been  thrashed  over 


and  over  again  and  you  were  not  needed  in  that  work  • 
but  there  are  so  few  who  had  any  knowledge  of  the  inner 
workings  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  administration  that  I  think  you 
owe  it  to  the  proof  of  history  to  finish  the  work  you  be- 
gan.   and never  knew  anything  about  Mr.  Lin- 
coln. They  knew  the  President  in  his  routine  duties  and  in 
his  official  ways,  but  the  man  Lincoln  and  his  plans  and 
methods  were  all  Greek  to  them.  They  have  made  a  history 
that  is  quite  correct  so  far  as  data  is  concerned,  but  be- 
yond that  it  is  full  of  gross  imperfections,  especially  when 
they  attempt  to  speak  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  individual  qualities 
and  movements.  Won't  you  consider  the  matter  of  writ- 
ing another  volume  on  Lincoln  ?  I  sincerely  hope  that 
you  will  do  so.  Herndon  covered  about  everything  that 
is  needed  outside  of  confidential  official  circles  in  Wash- 
ington. That  he  could  not  write  as  he  knew  nothing 
about  it,  and  there  is  no  one  living  who  can  perform  that 

task  but  yourself  .... 

Yours  truly, 

(Signed)  A.  K.  McCuiRE. 

I  have  been  influenced  also  by  a  friend  who  is 
a  great  Lincoln  scholar  and  who,  impressed  with 
the  injustice  done  my  father,  has  urged  me  for 
several  years  to  reissue  the  book  of  "  Recollec- 
tions," add  a  sketch  of  his  life  and  publish  letters 
that  show  his  standing  during  Lincoln's  administra- 
tion. I  hesitated  to  do  this,  remembering  the 
following  words  of  Mr.  Lincoln  at  Lancaster,  Penn- 
sylvania, on  his  way  to  Washington :  "  It  is  well 
known  that  the  more  a  man  speaks  the  less  he  is 


understood  —  the  more  he  says  one  thing,  the  more 
his  adversaries  contend  he  meant  something  else." 
I  am  now  yielding  to  these  influences  with  the 
hope  that  however  much  the  book  may  suggest  a 
"  patchwork  quilt "  and  be  permeated  with  Lamon 
as  well  as  Lincoln,  it  will  yet  appeal  to  those 
readers  who  care  for  documentary  evidence  in 
matters  historical. 

April,  1911. 






Prominent  Features  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  Life  written  by  himself  9 

Purpose  of  Present  Volume 13 

Riding  the  Circuit 14 

Introduction  to  Mr.  Lincoln 14 

Difference  in  Work  in  Illinois  and  in  Virginia 15 

Mr.  Lincoln's  Victory  over  Rev.  Peter  Cartwright      ....15 

Lincoln  Subject  Enough  for  the  People 16 

Mr.  Lincoln's  Love  of  a  Joke  —  Could  "  Contribute  Nothing 

to  the  End  in  View  " 16 

A  Branch  of  Law  Practice  which  Mr.  Lincoln  could  not  learn  17 

Refusal  to  take  Amount  of  Fee  given  in  Scott  Case      .    .    .  18 

Mr.  Lincoln  tried  before  a  Mock  Tribunal 19 

Low  Charges  for  Professional  Service 20 

Amount  of  Property  owned  by  Mr.  Lincoln  when  he  took  the 

Oath  as  President  of  the  United  States 20 

Introduction  to  Mrs.  Lincoln 21 

Mrs.  Lincoln's  Prediction  in  1847  that  her  Husband  would  be 

President 21 

The  Lincoln  and  Douglas  Senatorial  Campaign  in  1858     .    .  22 

"  Smelt  no  Royalty  in  our  Carriage  " 22 

Mr.  Lincoln  denies  that  he  voted  against  the  Appropriation 

for  Supplies  to  Soldiers  during  Mexican  War      ....  23 

Jostles  the  Muscular  Democracy  of  a  Friend 24 

Political  Letter  of  1858 26 

Prediction    of    Hon.    J.   G.    Elaine   regarding    Lincoln   and 

Douglas 27 





Time  between  Election  and  Departure  for  Washington     .    .  28 

Mr.  Lincoln's  Farewell  to  his  Friends  in  Springfield      .    .""*.  30 

At  Indianapolis 32 

Speeches  made  with  the  Object  of  saying  Nothing    .    .    .    .  33 

At  Albany  — Letter  of  Mr.  Thurlow  Weed 34 

Loss  of  Inaugural  Address 35 

At  Philadelphia — Detective  and  alleged  Conspiracy  to  mur- 
der Mr.  Lincoln 38 

Plans  for  Safety 40 

At  Harrisburg 40 

Col.  Sumner's  Opinion  of  the  Plan  to  thwart  Conspiracy  .    .  41 
Selection  of  One  Person  to  accompany  Mr.  Lincoln       ...  42 
At  West  Philadelphia  —  Careful  Arrangements  to  avoid  Dis- 
covery    43 

At  Baltimore  —  "  It 's  Four  O'clock  " 45 

At  Washington 45 

Arrival  at  Hotel 46 


Formation  of  Cabinet  and  Administration  Policy 48 

Opposition  to  Mr.  Chase 49 

Alternative  List  of  Cabinet  Members 50 

Politicians  realize  for  the  First  Time  the  Indomitable  Will  of 

Mr.  Lincoln 51 

Mr.  Seward  and  Mr.  Chase,  Men  of  Opposite  Principles    .    .  51 

Mr.  Seward  not  to  be  the  real  Head  of  the  Administration    .  52 

Preparations  for  Inauguration 53 

Introduction  by  Senator  Baker 53 

Impression  made  by  Inaugural  Address 54 

Oath  of  Office  Administered 54 

The  Call  of  the  New  York  Delegation  on  the  President    .    .  55 





Geographical  Lines  distinctly  drawn 56 

Behavior  of  the  36th  Congress 57 

Letter  of  Hon.  Joseph  Holt  on  the  "  Impending  Tragedy  "  .  58 

South  Carolina  formally  adopts  the  Ordinance  of  Secession  62 

Southern  Men's  Opinion  of  Slavery 62 

Mr.  Lincoln  imagines  Himself  in  the  Place  of  the  Slave- 

Holder 65 

Judge  J.  S.  Black  on  Slavery  as  regarded  by  the  Southern 

Man 66 

Emancipation  a  Question  of  Figures  as  well  as  Feeling     .    .  66 

Mission  to  Charleston 68 

"  Bring  back  a  Palmetto,  if  you  can't  bring  Good  News  "  .    .  70 

Why  General  Stephen  A.  Hurlbut  went  to  Charleston  ...  70 
Visit  to  Mr.  James  L.  Pettigrew  —  Peaceable  Secession  or 

War  Inevitable 71 

"A  great  Goliath  from  the  North"  —  "A  Yankee  Lincoln- 
Hireling  " 72 

Initiated  into  the  great  "  Unpleasantness  " 73 

Interview  with  Governor  Pickens  —  No  Way  out  of  Existing 

Difficulties  but  to  fight  out 74 

Passes  written  by  Governor  Pickens 75,  78 

Interview  with  Major  Anderson 75 

Rope  strong  enough  to  hang  a  Lincoln- Hireling 76 

Timely  Presence  of  Hon.  Lawrence  Keith 77 

Extremes  of  Southern  Character  exemplified 77 

Interview  with  the  Postmaster  of  Charleston 78 

Experience  of  General  Hurlbut  in  Charleston 79 


The  Ease  with  which  Mr.  Lincoln  could  be  reached  .    .    .    .  80 

Visit  of  a  Committee  from  Missouri 81 

A  Missouri  "  Orphan "  in  Trouble 82 

Protection  Paper  for  Betsy  Ann  Dougherty 83 

Case  of  Young  Man  convicted  of  Sleeping  at  his  Post  ...  86 


Reprieve  given  to  a  Man  whom  a  "little  Hanging  would  not 

hurt" 87 

An  Appeal  for  Mercy  that  failed 88 

An  Appeal  for  the  Release  of  a  Church  in  Alexandria  ...  89 
"  Reason  "  why  Sentence  of  Death  should  not  be  passed  upon 

a  Parricide 90 

The  Tennessee  Rebel  Prisoner  who  was  Religious     ....  90 

The  Lord  on  our  Side  or  We  on  the  Side  of  the  Lord    ...  91 

Clergymen  at  the  White  House 91 

Number  of  Rebels  in  the  Field 92 

Mr.  Lincoln  dismisses  Committee  of  Fault-Finding  Clergy- 
men      93 

Mistaken  Identity  and  the  Sequel 94 

Desire  to  be  like  as  well  as  of  and  for  the  People      ....  96 

Hat  Reform 97 

Mr.  Lincoln  and  his  Gloves .  97 

Bearing  a  Title  should  not  injure  the  Austrian  Count  ...  99 



Mr.  Lincoln's  Tenderness  toward  Animals 101 

Mr.  Lincoln  refuses  to  sign  Death  Warrants  for  Deserters 

—  Kind  Words  better  than  Cold  Lead 102 

How  Mr.  Lincoln  shared  the  Sufferings  of  the  Wounded 

Soldiers 103 

Letters  of  Condolence .  .  106-108 



Superstition  —  A  Rent  in  the  Veil  which  hides  from  Mortal 

View  what  the  Future  holds m 

The  Day  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  Renomination  at  Baltimore      .    .     112 

Double  Image  in  Looking-Glass  —  Premonition  of  Impend- 
ing Doom 112 

Mr.  Lincoln  relates  a  Dream  which  he  had  a  Few  Days  be- 
fore his  Assassination  114 



A  Dream  that  always  portended  an  Event  of  National  Im- 
portance       118 

Mr.  Lincoln's  Last  Drive no, 

Mr.   Lincoln's   Philosophy  concerning    Presentiments    and 

Dreams 121 



Mr.  Lincoln  calls  himself  "  Only  a  Retail  Story-Dealer"  .     .  123 

The  Purpose  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  Stories 124 

Mr.  Lincoln  shocks  the  Public  Printer 124 

A  General  who  had  formed  an  Intimate  Acquaintance  with 

himself 125 

Charles  I.  held  up  as  a  Model  for  Mr.  Lincoln's  Guidance  in 

Dealing  with  Insurgents  —  Had  no  Head  to  Spare    .     .  127 
Question  of  whether  Slaves  would  starve  if  Emancipated     .  127 
Mr.  Lincoln  expresses  his  Opinion  of  Rebel  Leaders  to  Con- 
federate Commissioners  at  the  Peace  Conference  .     .    .  128 
Impression  made  upon  Mr.  Lincoln  by  Alex.  H.  Stephens    .  129 

Heading  a  Barrel 129 

A  Fight,  its  Serious  Outcome,  and  Mr.  Lincoln's  Kindly 

View  of  the  Affair 130 

Not  always  easy  for  Presidents  to  have  Special  Trains  fur- 
nished them 132 

Mr.  Lincoln's  .Reason  for  not  being  in  a  Hurry  to  Catch  the 

Train 133 

"  Something  must  be  done  in  the  Interest  of  the  Dutch  "      .  134 

San  Domingo  Affair 134 

Cabinet  had  shrunk  up  North 135 

111  Health  of  Candidates  for  the  Position  of  Commissioner 

of  the  Sandwich  Islands 135 

Encouragement  to  Young  Lawyer  who  lost  his  Case    .    .     .  136 
Settle  the  Difficulty  without  Reference  to  Who  commenced 

the  Fuss 137 

"  Doubts  about  the  Abutment  on  the  Other  Side  "  .     .     .     .  138 
Mr.  Anthony  J.  Bleeker  tells  his  Experience  in  Applying  for 

a  Position  —  Believed  in  Punishment  after  Death      .    .  138 
Mr.  Lincoln  points  out  a  Marked  Trait  in  one  of  the  North- 
ern Governors 140 

"  Ploughed  around  him  " 142 

Revenge  on  Enemy 143 





If  a  Cause  of  Action  is  Good  it  needs  no  Vindication  .     .    .  144 

Letter  from  A.  J.  Perkins 145 

Mr.  Lincoln's  Own  Statement  of  the  Antietam  Affair  .    .    .  147 

One  "  Little  Sad  Song" 150 

Well  Timed  Rudeness  of  Kind  Intent 151 

Favorite  Songs 152 

Adam  and  Eve's  Wedding  Day 152 

Favorite  Poem:  "O  Why  Should  the  Spirit  of  Mortal  be 

Proud?" 153 



The  Incident  which  led  Mr.  Lincoln  to  wear  a  Beard  ...  158 

The  Knife  that  fairly  belonged  to  Mr.  Lincoln 159 

Mr.  Lincoln  is  introduced  to  the  Painter  of  his  "  Beautiful 

Portrait" 160 

Death  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  Favorite  Child 161 

Measures  taken  to  break  the  Force  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  Grief    .  162 

The  Invasion  of  Tad's  Theatre 164 

Tad  introduces  some  Kentucky  Gentlemen      ......  166 



The  Gettysburg  Speech 169 

A  Modesty  which  scorned  Eulogy  for  Achievements  not 

his  Own 170 

Mr.  Lincoln's  Regret  that  he  had  not  prepared  the  Gettys- 
burg Speech  with  Greater  Care 173 

Mr.  Everett's  and  Secretary  Seward's  Opinion  of  the  Speech  174 

The  Reported  Opinion  of  Mr.  Everett 174 

Had  unconsciously  risen  to  a  Height  above  the  Cultured 

Thought  of  the  Period 176 

Intrinsic  Excellence  of  the  Speech  first  discovered  by  Euro- 
pean Journals •     ...  176 


How  the  News  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  Death  was  received  by 

Other  Nations 176 

Origin  of  Phrase  "  Government  of  the  People,  by  the  Peo- 
ple, and  for  the  People  " 177 



An  Intrigue  to  appoint  a  Dictator 180 

"  Power,  Plunder,  and  Extended  Rule  " 181 

Feared  Nothing  except  to  commit  an  Involuntary  Wrong     .  182 
President  of  One  Part  of  a  Divided  Country  —  Not  a  Bed  of 

Roses 182 

Mr.  Lincoln  asserts  himself 184 

Demands  for  General  Grant's  Removal 184 

Distance  from  the  White  House  to  the  Capitol 185 

Stoical  Firmness  of  Mr.  Lincoln  in  standing  by  General  Grant  185 

Letter  from  Mr.  Lincoln  to  General  Grant 186 

The  Only  Occasion  of  a  Misunderstanding  between  the  Presi- 
dent and  General  Grant 187 

Special  Order  Relative  to  Trade-Permits 188 

Extract  from  Wendell  Phillips's  Speech      .......  189 

Willing  to  abide  the  Decision  of  Time 190 

Unworthy  Ambition  of  Politicians  and  the  Jealousies  in  the 

Army 191 

Resignation   of  General   Burnside  —  Appointment  of  Suc- 
cessor       192 

War  conducted  at  the  Dictation  of  Political  Bureaucracy      .  193 

Letter  to  General  Hooker 194 

Mr.  Lincoln's  Treatment  of  the  Subject  of  Dictatorship   .    .  195 

Symphony  of  Bull-Frogs 196 

"  A  Little  More  Light  and  a  Little  Less  Noise  "      ....  198 



Mr.  Lincoln  not  a  Creature  of  Circumstances      .....  199 

Subordination  of  High  Officials  to  Mr.  Lincoln 200 

The  Condition  of  the  Army  at  Beginning  and  Close  of  Gen- 
eral McClellan's  Command 201 

xviii  CONTENTS. 

Mr.   Lincoln   wanted  to  "borrow"   the   Army  if  General 

McClellan  did  not  want  to  use  it 202 

Mr.  Lincoln's  Opinion  of  General  McClellan.  A  Protest 

denouncing  the  Conduct  of  McClellan 203 

Mr.  Lincoln  alone  Responsible  to  the  Country  for  General 

McClellan's  Appointment  as  Commander  of  the  Forces 

at  Washington 204 

Confidential  Relationship  between  Francis  P.  Blair  and  Mr. 

Lincoln 205 

Mr.  Blajr's  Message  to  General  McClellan 206 

General  McClellan  repudiates  the  Obvious  Meaning  of  the 

Democratic  Platform 207 

Mr.  Lincoln  hopes  to  be  "Dumped  on  the  Right  Side  of  the 

Stream "....... 208 

I>ast  Appeal  to  General  McClellan's  Patriotism 208 

Proposition  Declined 210 



Public  Offices  in  no  Sense  a  Fund  upon  which  to  draw  for 

the -Payment  of  Private  Accounts 212 

Busy  letting  Rooms  while  the  House  was  on  Fire    ....    214 

Peremptory  Order  to  General  Meade 214 

Conditions  of  Proposition  to  renounce  all  Claims  to  Presi- 
dency and  throw  Entire  Influence  in  Behalf  of  Horatio 

Seymour 215 

Mr.  Thurlow  Weed  to  effect  Negotiation 216 

Mr.  Lincoln  deterred  from  making  the  Magnanimous  Self- 

Saorifice 217 

How  Mr.  Lincoln  thought  the  Currency  was  made  ....    217 
Mr.  Chase  explains  the  System  of  Checks  —  The  President 

impressed  with  Danger  from  this  Source 218 

First  Proposition  to  Mr.  Lincoln  to  issue  Interest-Bearing 
Notes   as   Currency  —  The   Interview  between    David 

Taylor  and  Secretary  Chase 220 

Mr.  Lincoln's  Honesty  —  Some  Legal   Rights  and   Moral 

Wrongs 222 

Mr.  Lincoln  annuls  the  Proceedings  of  Court-Martial  in  Case 

of  Franklin  W.  Smith  and  Brother 222 

Senator  Sherman  omits  Criticism  of  Lincoln 223 

Release  of  Roger  A.  Pryor'    ." 224 





The  "Trent  "Affair 227 

Spirit  of  Forgiveness  (?)  toward  England 229 

The  Interview  which  led  to  the  Appointment  of  Mr.  Stanton 

as  Secretary  of -War 230 

Correspondence  with  Hon.  William  A.  Wheeler       ....  231 

The  Appointment  of  Mr.  Stanton  a  Surprise  to  the  Country  232 

Mr.  Stanton's  Rudeness  to  Mr.  Lincoln  in  1858 236 

Mr.  Lincoln  abandons  a  Message  to  Congress  in  Deference 
to  the  Opinion  of  his  Cabinet  —  Proposed  Appropriation 
of  $3,000,000  as  Compensation  to  Owners  of  Liberated 

Slaves 237 

Mr.  Stanton's  Refusal  of  Permits  to  go  through  the  Lines 

into  Insurgent  Districts 239 

Not  Much  Influence  with  this  Administration 239 

Mr.  Stanton's  Resignation  not  accepted 239 

The  Seven.  Words  added  by  Mr.  Chase  to  the  Proclamation 

of  Emancipation 240 

Differen.ce  between  "  Qualified  Voters"  and  "Citizens  of  the 

State" .  240 

Letter  of  Governor  Hahn 241 

Universal  Suffrage  One  of  Doubtful  Propriety 242 

Not  in  Favor  of  Unlimited  Social  Equality 242 

The  Conditions  under  which  Mr.  Lincoln  wanted  the  War 

to  Terminate       243 

The  Rights  and  Duties  of  the  Gentleman  and  of  the  Vagrant 

are  the  Same  in  Time  of  War 245 

What  was.  to.  be  the  Disposition  of  the  Leaders  of  the  Re- 
bellion. ..  ..  ,. 246 

Mr.  Lincoln  a.nd.  Jefferson  Davis  on  an  Imaginary  Island      .  247 
Disposition    pf  .Jefferson    Davis    discussed   at  a  Cabinet 

Meeting 248 

Principal  Events  of  Life  of  Mr.  Davis  after  the  War    .     .    .  249 
Discussing  the  .MUitary.  Situation  —  Terms  of  Peace  must 

emanate  from  Mr.  Lincoln 250 

Telegram  to  General  Grant 251 

Dignified  Reply  of  General  Grant 252 




Difficulties  attending  the  Execution  of  the  Fugitive  Slave 

Law 254 

Civil  Authority  outranked  the  Military 255 

District  Jail  an  Objective  Point 257 

Resignation  of  Marshal 258 

Marshal's  Office  made  a  Subject  of  Legislation  in  Congress  259 

A  Result  of  Blundering  Legislation 259 

Mr.  Lincoln's  Existence  embittered  by  Personal  and  Political 

Attacks 260 

Rev.  Robert  Collyer  and  the  Rustic  Employee 261 



Conspiracy  to  kidnap  Mr.  Buchanan 264 

Second  Scheme  of  Abduction 265 

Mr.  Lincoln  relates  the  Details  of  a  Dangerous  Ride  .    .    .  265 

A  Search  for  Mr.  Lincoln 271 

Mr.  Lincoln's  Peril  during  Ceremonies  of  his  Second  In- 
auguration —  Booth's  Phenomenal  Audacity      ....  271 
The  Polish  Exile  from  whom  Mr.  Lincoln  feared  Assault     .  273 
An  Impatient  Letter  appealing  to  Mr.  Lincoln's  Prudence    .  274 

Mr.  Lincoln's  high  Administrative  Qualities 276 

But  Few  Persons  apprehended  Danger  to  Mr.  Lincoln     .    .  276 
General  Grant  receives  the  News  of  the  Assassination  of 

Mr.  Lincoln  —  A  Narrow  Escape 278 

Last  Passport  written  by  Mr.  Lincoln 280 

Mr.  Lincoln  requested  to  make  a  Promise 280 

Mr.  Lincoln's  Farewell  to  his  Marshal    .    .   \    ,  .  281 

Lincoln's  Last  Laugh 282 

Willing  to  concede  Much  to  Democrats 286 

Eastern  Shore  Maryland 287 

Honesty  in  Massachusetts  and  Georgia 287 



McClellan  seems  to  be  Lost 288 

Battle  of  Antietam,  Turning-point  in  Lincoln's  Career      .     .  289 

Motto  for  the  Greenback 289 

"  Niggers  will  never  be  higher  " 290 

Lincoln  in  a  Law  Case 291 

Lincoln's  Views  of  the  American  or  Know-Nothing  Party    .  299 

Account  of  Arrangement  for  Cooper  Institute  Speech      .     .  300 

"  Rail  Splitter  " 303 

Temperance 305 

Shrewdness 309 

Religion 333 


Black,  Jeremiah  S.,  329 

B"ggs,  Jas-  A-,  3°° 

Catron,  J.,  330 

Davis,  David,  xxxii,  317,  324 

Doubleday,  A.,  326 

Douglas,  S.  A.,  319 

Faulkner,  Chas.  J.,  327 

Fell,  Jesse  W.,  11 

Field,  Eugene,  xxxv 

Field,  Kate,  306 

Foster,  Chas.  H.,  325 

Grant,  Gen.,  to  Secy.  Stanton, 

Hanna,  W.  H.,  317,  320,  326, 


Harmon,  O.  F.,  314 
Hatch,  O.  M.,  313,  316 
Henderson,  D.  P.,  331 
Holt,  J.,  58 

Hurlburt,  Stephen  A.,  79 
Kress,  Jno.  A.,  256 
Lamon,  W.  H.,  xxvi,  231,  274, 

307,  333 
Lemon,  J.  E.,  319 

Lincoln,  A.,  xxiii,  xxix,  26,  106, 
1 08,  1 86,  194,  241,  301,  309 

Logan,  S.  T.,  xxviii,  328 

McClure,  A.  K.,  vii 

Murray,  Bronson,  311,  312 

Oglesby,  R.  J.,  330 

Perkins,  A.  J.,  145 

Pickens,  Gov.  F.  W.,  75,  78 

Pleasanton,  A.,  289 

Pope,  John,  316 

Scott,  Winfield,  314 

Seward,  W.  H.,  xxxi 

Shaffer,  J.  W.,  329 

Smith,  Jas.  H.,  312 

Stanton,  Ed.  M.,  252 

Swett,  Leonard,  313,  318 

Taylor,  Hawkins,  315,  327 

Usher,  Secy.  J.  P.,  v,  xxv,  320, 

Weed,  Thurlow,  34 

Weldon,  Lawrence,  xxxii,  318 

Wentworth,  Jno.,  331 

Wheeler,  Wm.  A.,  234 

Yates,  Richard,  xxiv 







|   ^  r»V 

l*M     'i*MstJhA*UA    -\Jr- 


if  ^  *J 

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^vux-voi  'WyvV*^ 





WARD  H.  LAMON  was  born  in  Frederick  County, 
about  two  miles  north  of  Winchester,  in  the  state  of 
Virginia,  on  the  6th  day  of  January,  1828.  Two  years  after 
his  birth  his  parents  moved  to  Berkeley  County  in  what  is 
now  West  Virginia,  near  a  little  town  called  Bunker  Hill, 
where  he  received  a  common  school  education.  At  the  age 
of  seventeen  he  began  the  study  of  medicine  which  he  soon 
abandoned  for  law.  When  nineteen  years  of  age  he  went 
to  Illinois  and  settled  in  Danville;  afterwards  attending 
lectures  at  the  Louisville  (Ky.)  Law  School.  Was  admitted 
to  the  Bar  of  Kentucky  in  March,  1850,  and  in  January,  1851, 
he  was  admitted  to  the  Illinois  Bar,  which  comprised  Abra- 
ham Lincoln,  Judge  Stephen  T.  Logan,  Judge  David  Davis, 
Leonard  Swett,  and  others  of  that  famous  coterie,  all  of 
whom  were  his  fast  friends. 

w^uC*-     OxUK 


Conclusion  of  a  Legal  Document  signed  by  Lincoln  and  Lamon. 

They  all  rode  the  circuit  together,  there  being  no  railroads 
at  that  time  in  the  State.  And  it  has  been  said  that,  "  It 
is  doubtful  if  the  bar  of  any  other  state  of  the  union  equalled 
that  of  the  frontier  state  of  Illinois  in  professional  ability 
when  Lincoln  won  his  spurs."  A  legal  partnership  was 
formed  between  Mr.  Lamon  and  Mr.  Lincoln  for  the  prac- 

xxiv  MEMOIR   OF  WARD  H.  LAMON. 

tice  of  law  in  the  eighth  District.  Headquarters  of  this 
partnership  was  first  at  Danville  and  then  at  Bloomington. 
Was  elected  District  Attorney  for  the  eighth  District  in 
1856,  which  office  he  continued  to  hold  until  called  upon 
by  Mr.  Lincoln  to  accompany  him  to  Washington.  It  was 
upon  Mr.  Lamon  that  Mr.  Lincoln  and  his  friends  relied  to 
see  him  safely  to  the  National  Capitol,  when  it  became  nec- 
essary at  Harrisburg  to  chose  one  companion  for  the  rest 
of  the  journey.* 

He  was  appointed  Marshal  of  the  District  of  Columbia, 
which  position  at  that  time  was  much  more  of  a  social  func- 
tion than  it  was  in  after  years.  The  Marshal  performed 
some  of  the  ceremonies  which  have  since  been  delegated  to 
the  Superintendent  of  Public  Buildings  and  Grounds.  He 
introduced  people  to  the  President  on  state  occasions  and 


SPRINGFIELD,  ILL.,    Feb.  9,  1861. 

DEAR  GOVERNOR,  —  You  will  bear  me  witness  that  I  seldom 
trouble  my  friends  in  Washington  with  letters  of  introduction.  I 
must  now  ask  you  to  indulge  me  in  a  suspension  of  this  general 
rule,  especially  as  my  object  has  as  much  to  do  with  your  future 
as  my  own. 

W.  H.  Lamon,  Esq.,  of  our  state  visits  Washington  upon  the 
invitation  of  Mr.  Lincoln  as  his  escort  and  companion.  He  is 
one  of  our  ablest  young  lawyers,  a  man  of  strong  and  vigorous 
intellect  and  of  influence  throughout  the  entire  state  equal  to.any 
man  in  the  state. 

His  social  qualities  upon  intimate  acquaintance  are  of  the  finest 
type.  He  is  chivalrous,  courageous,  generous. 

His  integrity  is  unquestioned.  Though  inclined  to  be  conser- 
vative, he  is  a  Republican  firm,  and  from  principle.  He  is,  however, 
retiring  and  not  disposed  to  press  himself  on  any  one.  May  I 
ask  of  you  that  you  will  be  kind  to  him  as  you  were  to  me,  and 

very  much  oblige 

Your  friend, 



was  the  general  social  factotum  of  the  Executive  Mansion. 
The  position  of  Marshal  was  not  of  his  own  choosing.  Had 
he  consulted  his  own  taste  he  would  have  preferred  some 
appointment  in  Europe.*  It  was  almost  settled  that  he  was 
to  be  sent  as  Consul  to  Paris,  but  in  deference  to  Mr.  Lin- 
coln's wish  to  have  him  near  him  in  the  trying  times  which 
he  anticipated,  he  shouldered  the  duties  of  Marshal  at  this 
dangerous  period,  when  it  was  one  of  much  friction  and 
difficulty,  as  slavery  ruled  for  a  hundred  miles  north  and  a 
thousand  miles  south  and  west  of  the  Capitol. 

After  the  law  was  passed  emancipating  the  slaves  in  the 
District  of  Columbia,  that  territory  was  made,  or  sought  to 
be  made,  the  asylum  for  the  unemancipated  slaves  of  the 
States  of  Maryland  and  Virginia.  Mr.  Lincoln  was  not  yet 
ready  to  issue  his  general  emancipation  proclamation ;  the 
Fugitive  Slave  law  was  still  in  force  and  was  sought  to  be 
enforced.  This  condition  of  things  was  seized  upon  by 
many  political  demagogues  to  abuse  the  President  over  the 
shoulders  of  the  Marshal.  They  exaggerated  the  truly  de- 
plorable condition  of  the  bondmen  and  made  execrable  all 
officers  of  the  Government,  whose  duty  it  became  to  execute 
laws  of  their  own  making. 

The  jail  was  at  that  time  in  the  custody  of  the  Marshal, 
and  he  was  responsible  for  the  safe  keeping  of  twice  as  many 
criminals  as  his  means  of  keeping  them  safely  justified; 

Feb.  4,  1 66 1. 

DEAR  SIR,  —  It  affords  me  much  satisfaction  to  hear  that  you 
have  invited  our  excellent  friend  W.  H.  Lamon  to  accompany 
you  to  Washington  and  hope  that  there  may  be  no  necessity  to 
interfere  with  his  appointment  to  the  consulate  at  Paris,  that  will 
give  us  all  unbounded  pleasure. 

Very  truly  your  friend, 

J.  P.  USHER. 


Congress  being  responsible  for  the  insufficiency  of  those 
means.  To  have  performed  the  official  requirements  of  that 
office  in  pursuance  of  the  then  existing  laws  and  the  official 
oath  required,  and  at  the  same  time  given  satisfaction  to 
the  radical  element  of  the  Republican  party,  was  impossible; 
hence  the  vindictive  persecution  that  followed  which  con- 
tinued in  the  Republican  party  against  Marshal  Lamon  to 
the  end  of  his  life. 

Colonel  Lamon  was  a  strong  Union  man  but  was  greatly 
disliked  by  the  Abolitionists;  was  considered  proslavery  by 
them  for  permitting  his  subordinates  to  execute  the  old  Mary- 
land laws  in  reference  to  negroes,  which  had  been  in  force 
since  the  District  was  ceded  to  the  Federal  Government. 
After  an  unjust  attack  upon  him  in  the  Senate,  they  at 
last  reached  the  point  where  they  should  have  begun,  intro- 
duced a  bill  to  repeal  the  obnoxious  laws  which  the  Marshal 
was  bound  by  his  oath  of  office  to  execute.  When  the  fight 
on  the  Marshal  was  the  strongest  in  the  Senate,  he  sent  in 
the  following  resignation  to  Mr.  Lincoln  : 

WASHINGTON,  D.  C.,    Jany.  31,  1862. 
HON.  A.  LINCOLN,     President,  United  States  : 

SIR,  —  I  hereby  resign  my  office  as  Marshal  for  the  District  of 
Columbia.  Your  invariable  friendship  and  kindness  for  a  long 
course  of  years  which  you  have  ever  extended  to  me  impel  me  to 
give  the  reasons  for  this  course.  There  appears  to  be  a  studious 
effort  upon  the  part  of  the  more  radical  portion  of  that  party 
which  placed  you  in  power  to  pursue  me  with  a  relentless  persecu- 
tion, and  I  am  now  under  condemnation  by  the  United  States 
Senate  for  doing  what  I  am  sure  meets  your  approval,  but  by  the 
course  pursued  by  that  honorable  body  I  fear  you  will  be  driven 
to  the  necessity  of  either  sustaining  the  action  of  that  body,  or 
breaking  with  them  and  sustaining  me,  which  you  cannot  afford 
to  do  under  the  circumstances. 

I  appreciate  your  embarrassing  position  in  the  matter,  and  feel 
as  unselfish  in  the  premises  as  you  have  ever  felt  and  acted 

MEMOIR   OF  WARD  H.  LAMON.          XXV11 

towards  me  in  the  course  of  fourteen  years  of  uninterrupted 
friendship ;  now  when  our  country  is  in  danger,  I  deem  it  but 
proper,  having  your  successful  administration  of  this  Government 
more  at  heart  than  my  own  pecuniary  interests,  to  relieve  you  of 
this  embarrassment  by  resigning  that  office  which  you  were  kind 
enough  to  confide  to  my  charge,  and  in  doing  so  allow  me  to  as- 
sure you  that  you  have  my  best  wishes  for  your  health  and  happi- 
ness, for  your  successful  administration  of  this  Government,  the 
speedy  restoration  to  peace,  and  a  long  and  useful  life  in  the  en« 
joyment  of  your  present  high  and  responsible  office. 
I  have  the  honor  to  be 

Your  friend  and  obedient  servant, 


Mr.  Lincoln  refused  to  accept  this  resignation  for  reasons 
which  he  partly  expressed  to  Hon.  William  Kellogg,  Mem- 
ber of  Congress  from  Illinois,  at  a  Presidential  reception 
about  this  time.  When  Judge  Kellogg  was  about  to  pass  on 
after  shaking  the  President's  hand  Mr.  Lincoln  said,  "  Kel 
logg,  I  want  you  to  stay  here.  I  want  to  talk  to  you  when  1 
have  a  chance.  While  you  are  waiting  watch  Lamon 
(Lamon  was  making  the  presentations  at  the  time).  He 
is  most  remarkable.  He  knows  more  people  and  can  call 
more  by  name  than  any  man  I  ever  saw." 

After  the  reception  Kellogg  said,  "  I  don't  know  but  you 
are  mistaken  in  your  estimate  of  Lamon ;  there  are  many  of 
our  associates  in  Congress  who  don't  place  so  high  an  esti- 
mate on  his  character  and  have  little  or  no  faith  in  him  what- 
ever." "Kellogg,"  said  Lincoln,  "you  fellows  at  the  other 
end  of  the  Avenue  seem  determined  to  deprive  me  of  every 
friend  I  have  who  is  near  me  and  whom  I  can  trust.  Now, 
let  me  tell  you,  sir,  he  is  the  most  unselfish  man  I  ever  saw  ; 
is  discreet,  powerful,  and  the  most  desperate  man  in  emer- 
gency I  have  ever  seen  or  ever  expect  to  see.  He  is  my 
friend  and  I  am  his  and  as  long  as  I  have  these  great  re- 
sponsibilities on  me  I  intend  to  insist  on  his  being  with  me, 
and  I  will  stick  by  him  at  all  hazards."  Kellogg,  seeing  he 

XXVlil          MEMOIR   OF  WARD  H.  LAMON. 

had  aroused  the  President  more  than  he  expected,  said,  "  Hold 
on,  Lincoln ;  what  I  said  of  our  mutual  friend  Lamon  was  in 
jest.  I  am  also  his  friend  and  believe  with  you  about  him. 
I  only  intended  to  draw  you  out  so  that  I  might  be  able  to 
say  something  further  in  his  favor  with  your  endorsement. 
In  the  House  today  I  defended  him  and  will  continue  to  do 
so.  I  know  Lamon  clear  through."  "  Well,  Judge,"  said 
Lincoln,  "  I  thank  you.  You  can  say  to  your  friends  in  the 
House  and  elsewhere  that  they  will  have  to  bring  stronger 
proof  than  any  I  have  seen  yet  to  make  me  think  that  Hill 
Lamon  is  not  the  most  important  man  to  me  I  have  around 

Every  charge  preferred  against  the  Marshal  was  proven 
groundless,  but  the  Senators  and  Representatives  who  had 
joined  in  this  inexcusable  persecution  ever  remained  his 
enemies  as  did  also  the  radical  press.* 

The  following  is  a  sample  of  many  letters  received  by 
Colonel  Lamon  about  this  time:  — 

March,  23,  1862. 

...  —  I  was  rather  sorry  that  you  should  have  thought  that  I 
needed  to  see  any  evidence  in  regard  to  the  war  Grimes  &  Com- 
pany were  making  on  you  to  satisfy  me  as  to  what  were  the  facts. 
No  one,  however,  had  any  doubt  but  that  they  made  the  attack  on 
you  for  doing  your  duty  under  the  law.  Such  men  as  he  and  his 
coadjutors  think  every  man  ought  to  be  willing  to  commit  perjury 
or  any  other  crime  in  pursuit  of  their  abolition  notions. 

We  suppose,  however,  that  they  mostly  designed  the  attack  on 
you  as  a  blow  at  Lincoln  and  as  an  attempt  to  reach  him  through 

*  At  this  time  the  Grand  Jury  of  Washington  County,  District 
of  Columbia,  found  a  bill  of  indictment  against  Horace  Greeley, 
of  the  New  York  "  Tribune,"  for  malicious  libel  of  a  public 
officer,  the  U.  S.  Marshal.  The  Marshal  was  averse  to  this  pro- 
cedure, but  the  jury  having  the  facts  before  them  regarded  the 
offence  as  so  flagrant  that  the  case  was  vigorously  prosecuted. 


his  friends.     I  do  not  doubt  but  they  would  be  glad  to  drive  every 
personal  friend  to  Lincoln  out  of  Washington. 

I  ought  to  let  you  know,  however,  that  you  have  risen  more 
than  an  hundred  per  cent  in  the  estimation  of  my  wife  on  account 
of  your  having  so  acted  as  to  acquire  the  enmity  of  the  Abolition- 
ists. I  believe  firmly  that  if  we  had  not  got  the  Republican 
nomination  for  him  (Lincoln)  the  Country  would  have  been  gone. 
I  don't  know  whether  it  can  be  saved  yet,  but  I  hope  so.  ... 

Write  whenever  you  have  leisure. 

Yours  respectfully, 

S.  T.  LOGAN. 

Mr.  Lincoln  had  become  very  unpopular  with  the  politi- 
cians —  not  so  with  the  masses,  however.  Members  of  Con- 
gress gave  him  a  wide  berth  and  eloquently  "  left  him  alone 
with  his  Martial  Cloak  around  him."  It  pained  him  that  he 
could  not  please  everybody,  but  he  said  it  was  impossible. 
In  a  conversation  with  Lamon  about  his  personal  safety 
Lincoln  said,  "  I  have  more  reason  today  to  apprehend  danger 
to  myself  personally  from  my  own  partisan  friends  than  I 
have  from  all  other  sources  put  together."  This  estrange- 
ment between  him  and  his  former  friends  at  such  a  time  no 
doubt  brought  him  to  a  more  confidential  relation  with 
Colonel  Lamon  than  would  have  been  otherwise. 

In  May,  1861,  Lamon  was  authorized  to  organize  and  com- 
mand a  regiment  of  volunteer  Infantry,  and  subsequently  his 
command  was  increased  to  a  brigade.* 

Raising  troops  at  the  commencement  of  the  war  cost 

WASHINGTON,  D.  C.,  June  25,  1861. 
*  COL.  W.  H.  LAMON  : 

MY  DEAR  SIR,  —  I  spoke  to  the  Secretary  of  War  yesterday, 
and  he  consents,  and  so  do  I,  that  as  fast  as  you  get  Companies, 
you  may  procure  a  U.  S.  officer,  and  have  them  mustered  in. 
Have  this  done  quietly  ;  because  we  can  not  do  the  labor  of  adopt- 
ing it  as  a  general  practice. 

Yours  as  ever, 



Colonel  Lamon  $22,000,  for  which  he  never  asked  the 
Government  to  reimburse  a  dollar.  Mr.  Lincoln  urged  him 
to  put  in  his  vouchers  and  receive  it  back,  but  Lamon  did 
not  want  to  place  himself  in  the  position  that  any  evil- 
disposed  person  could  question  his  integrity  or  charge  him 
with  having  wrongfully  received  from  the  Government  one 

His  military  service  in  the  field,  however,  was  of  short 
duration  —  from  May,  1861,  to  December  of  that  year  —  for 
his  services  were  in  greater  demand  at  the  Nation's  Capital. 
He  held  the  commission  of  Colonel  during  the  war. 

Colonel  Lamon  was  charged  with  several  important  missions 
for  Mr.  Lincoln,  one  of  the  most  delicate  and  dangerous 
being  a  confidential  mission  to  Charleston,  S.  C.,  less  than 
three  weeks  before  the  firing  on  Sumter. 

At  the  time  of  the  death  of  Mr.  Lincoln,  Lamon  was  in 
Richmond.  It  was  believed  by  many  who  were  familiar  with 
Washington  affairs,  including  Mr.  Seward,  Secretary  of  State, 
that  had  Lamon  been  in  the  city  on  the  i4th  of  April,  1865, 
that  appalling  tragedy  at  Ford's  Theatre  would  have  been 

From  the  time  of  the  arrival  of  the  President-elect  at 
Washington  until  just  before  his  assassination,  Lamon 
watched  over  his  friend  and  Chief  with  exceeding  intelligence 
and  a  fidelity  that  knew  no  rest.  It  has  been  said  of  Lamon 
that,  "The  faithful  watch  and  vigil  long  with  which  he 
guarded  Lincoln's  person  during  those  four  years  was 
seldom,  if  ever,  equalled  by  the  fidelity  of  man  to  man." 
Lamon  is  perhaps  best  known  for  the  courage  and  watchful 
devotion  with  which  he  guarded  Lincoln  during  the  stormy 
days  of  the  Civil  War. 

After  Lincoln's  death  it  was  always  distasteful  to  Lamon 
to  go  to  the  White  House.  He  resigned  his  position  in  June 
following  Mr.  Lincoln's  death  in  the  face  of  the  remonstrance 
of  the  Administration. 


The  following  is  a  copy  of  a  letter  of  Mr.  Seward  accept- 
ing his  resignation :  — 


WASHINGTON,  June  10,  1865. 
To  WARD  H.  LAMON,  Esq., 

Marshal  of  the  United  States 

for  the  District  of  Columbia, 
Washington,  D.  C. 

MY  DEAR  SIR,  —  The  President  directs  me  to  acknowledge 
the  receipt  of  your  letter  of  the  8th  instant,  in  which  you  tender 
your  resignation  as  Marshal  of  the  United  States  for  the  District 
of  Columbia. 

He  accepts  your  resignation,  as  you  desire,  to  take  effect  on 
Monday,  the  i2th  instant,  but  in  so  doing  deems  it  no  more  than 
right  to  say  that  he  regrets  that  you  should  have  asked  him  to  do 
so.  Since  his  advent  here,  he  has  heard  from  those  well  qualified 
to  speak  of  your  unwavering  loyalty  and  of  your  constant  per- 
sonal fidelity  to  the  late  President.  These  are  qualities  which 
have  obtained  for  you  the  reputation  of  a  faithful  and  fearless 
public  officer,  and  they  are  just  such  qualities  as  the  Government 
can  ill  afford  to  lose  in  any  of  its  Departments.  They  will,  I 
doubt  not,  gain  for  you  in  any  new  occupation  which  you  may 
undertake  the  same  reputation  and  the  same  success  you  have 
obtained  in  the  position  of  United  States  Marshal  of  this  District. 

Very  truly  yours, 
(Signed)  WILLIAM  H.  SEWARD. 

Colonel  Lamon  was  never  just  to  himself.  He  cared  little 
for  either  fame  or  fortune.  He  regarded  social  fidelity  as  one 
of  the  highest  virtues.  When  President  Johnson  wished  to 
make  him  a  Member  of  his  Cabinet  and  offered  him  the 
position  of  Postmaster-General,  Lamon  pleaded  the  cause  of 
the  incumbent  so  effectually  that  the  President  was  compelled 
to  abandon  the  purpose. 

Judge  David  Davis,  many  years  on  the  U.  S.  Supreme 
Bench,  and  administrator  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  estate,  wrote  the 
following  under  date  of  May  23,  1865,  to  Hon.  Wm.  H. 
Seward,  Secretary  of  State. 

XXxii          MEMOIR   OF  WARD  H.  LAMON. 

There  is  one  matter  of  a  personal  nature  which  I  wish  to  sug- 
gest to  you.  Mr.  Lincoln  was  greatly  attached  to  our  friend  Col. 
Ward  H.  Lamon.  I  doubt  whether  he  had  a  warmer  attachment 
to  anybody,  and  I  know  that  it  was  reciprocated.  Col.  Lamon 
has  for  a  long  time  wanted  to  resign  his  office  and  had  only  held 
it  at  the  earnest  request  of  Mr.  Lincoln. 

Mr.  Lincoln  would  have  given  him  the  position  of  Governor  of 
Idaho.  Col.  Lamon  is  well  qualified  for  that  place.  He  would 
be  popular  there.  He  understands  Western  people  and  few  men 
have  more  friends.  I  should  esteem  it  as  a  great  favor  personally 
if  you  could  secure  the  place  for  him.  If  you  can't  succeed  no- 
body else  can.  Col.  Lamon  will  make  no  effort  and  will  use  no 

He  is  one  of  the  dearest  friends  I  have  in  the  world.  He  may 
have  faults,  and  few  of  us  are  without  them,  but  he  is  as  true  as 
steel,  honorable,  high  minded,  and  never  did  a  mean  thing  in  his 
life.  Excuse  the  freedom  with  which  I  have  written. 

May  I  beg  to  be  remembered  to  your  son  and  to  your  family. 

Yours  most  truly, 


The  faithfulness  till  death  of  this  noble  man's  friendship 
is  shown  in  the  following  letter  written  for  him  when  he  was 
dying,  twenty-one  years  later. 


June  22,  1886. 
COL.  W.  H.  LAMON: 

DEAR  SIR,  —  On  my  return  from  Washington  about  a  month 
since  Judge  Davis  said  to  me  that  he  had  a  long  letter  from  you 
which  he  intended  to  answer  as  soon  as  he  was  able  to  do  so. 
Since  that  time  the  Judge  has  been  declining  in  health  until  he  is 
now  beyond  all  capability  of  writing.  I  have  not  seen  him  for 
three  weeks  until  yesterday  morning  when  I  found  him  in  lowest 
condition  of  life.  Rational  when  aroused  but  almost  unconscious 
of  his  surroundings  except  when  aroused. 

He  spoke  in  the  kindest  terms  of  you  and  was  much  annoyed 
because  an  answer  to  your  letter  was  postponed.  He  requested 
me  this  morning  through  Mrs.  Davis  to  write  you,  while  Mrs. 
Davis  handed  me  the  letter.  I  have  not  read  it  as  it  is  a  personal 
letter  to  the  Judge.  I  don't  know  that  I  can  say  any  more. 

MEMOIR  OF  WARD  H,   LAMON.         XXXlll 

It  was  one  of  the  saddest  sights  of  my  life  to  see  the  best  and 
truest  friend  I  ever  had  emaciated  with  disease,  lingering  between 
life  and  death.  Before  this  reaches  you  the  world  may  know  of 
his  death.  I  understood  Mrs.  Davis  has  written  you. 

Very  truly, 


In  striking  contrast  to  this  beautiful  friendship  is  another 
which  one  would  pronounce  equally  strong  were  he  to  judge 
the  man  who  professed  it  from  his  letters  to  Lamon,  cover- 
ing a  period  of  twenty-five  years,  letters  filled  throughout 
with  expressions  of  the  deepest  trust,  love,  admiration,  and 
even  gratitude ;  but  in  a  book  published  last  November 
[1910]  there  appear  letters  from  this  same  man  to  one  of 
Lamon's  bitterest  enemies.  In  one  he  says,  "Lamon  was 
no  solid  firm  friend  of  Lincoln."  Let  us  hope  he  was 
sincere  when  he  expressed  just  the  opposite  sentiment  to 
Lamon,  for  may  it  not  have  been  his  poverty  and  not  his  will 
which  consented  to  be  thus  "  interviewed."  He  alludes  twice 
in  this  same  correspondence  to  his  poverty,  once  when 
he  gives  as  his  reason  for  selling  something  he  regretted  to 
have  sold  that  "  I  was  a  poor  devil  and  had  to  sell  to  live," 

and  again,  " are  you  getting  rich  ?  I  am  as  poor  as  Job's 


One  of  Lamon's  friends  describes  him  :  — 

"  Of  herculean  proportions  and  almost  fabulous  strength  and 
agility,  Lamon  never  knew  what  fear  was  and  in  the  darkest  days 
of  the  war  he  never  permitted  discouragement  to  affect  his  courage 
or  weaken  his  faith  in  the  final  success  of  the  Nation.  Big-hearted, 
genial,  generous,  and  chivalrous,  his  memory  will  live  long  in  the 
land  which  he  served  so  well." 

Leonard  Swett  wrote  in  the  "  North  American  Review  " :  — 

"  Lamon  was  all  over  a  Virginian,  strong,  stout  and  athletic  —  a 
Hercules  in  stature,  tapering  from  his  broad  shoulders  to  his  heels, 
and  the  handsomest  man  physically  I  ever  saw.  He  was  six  feet 
high  and  although  prudent  and  cautious,  was  thoroughly  courage- 

XXXIV         MEMOIR   OF   WARD  H.   LAMON. 

ous  and  bold.  He  wore  that  night  [when  he  accompanied  Lincoln 
from  Harrisburg  to  Washington]  two  ordinary  pistols,  two  der- 
ringers and  two  large  knives.  You  could  put  no  more  elements  of 
attack  or  defence  in  a  human  skin  than  were  in  Lamon  and  his 
armory  on  that  occasion.  .  .  .  Mr.  Lincoln  knew  the  shedding  the 
last  drop  of  blood  in  his  defence  would  be  the  most  delightful  act 
of  Lamon's  life,  and  that  in  him  he  had  a  regiment  armed  and 
drilled  for  the  most  efficient  service." 

The  four  or  five  thousand  letters  left  by  Colonel  Lamon 
show  that  his  influence  was  asked  on  almost  every  question, 
and  show  that  Mr.  Lincoln  was  more  easily  reached  through 
Colonel  Lamon  than  by  any  other  one  man ;  even  Mrs.  Lincoln 
herself  asked  Lamon's  influence  with  her  husband.  Extracts 
from  some  of  these  letters  may  be  found  at  the  end  of  this 
volume.  They  breathe  the  real  atmosphere  of  other  days. 

After  his  resignation  as  Marshal,  he  resumed  the  practice 
of  law  in  company  with  Hon.  Jeremiah  S.  Black  and  his 
son,  Chauncey  F.  Black. 

Broken  in  health  and  in  fortune,  he  went  to  Colorado  in 
1879,  where  he  remained  seven  years.  It  was  here  that  the 
beautiful  friendship  began  between  Colonel  Lamon  and 
Eugene  Field.  This  friendship  meant  much  to  both  of  them. 
To  Eugene  Field,  then  one  of  the  editors  of  the  Denver 
"  Tribune,"  who  had  only  a  boyhood  recollection  of  Lincoln, 
it  meant  much  to  study  the  history  of  the  War  and  the  mar- 
tyred President  with  one  who  had  seen  much  of  both.  To 
Colonel  Lamon  it  was  a  solace  and  a  tonic,  this  association 
with  one  in  whom  sentiment  and  humor  were  so  delicately 

One  little  incident  of  this  friendship  is  -worth  the  telling 
because  of  the  pathetic  beauty  of  the  verses  which  it 

One  day  when  Field  dropped  in  to  see  Lamon  he  found 
him  asleep  on  the  floor.  (To  take  a  nap  on  the  floor  was  a 
habit  of  both  Lamon  and  Lincoln,  perhaps  because  they 

MEMOIR   OF   WARD   H.   LASION.          XXXV 

both  experienced  difficulty  in  finding  lounges  suited  to  their 
length  —  Lamon  was  six  feet  two  inches,  Lincoln  two  inches 
taller.)  Field  waited  some  time  thinking  Lamon  would 
wake  up,  but  he  did  not ;  so  finally  Field  penciled  the  follow- 
ing verses  on  a  piece  of  paper,  pinned  it  to  the  lapel  of 
Lamon's  coat,  and  quietly  left:  — 

As  you,  dear  Lamon,  soundly  slept 
And  dreamed  sweet  dreams  upon  the  floor, 

Into  your  hiding  place  I  crept 
And  heard  the  music  of  your  snore. 

A  man  who  sleeps  as  now  you  sleep, 

Who  pipes  as  music'ly  as  thou  — 
Who  loses  self  in  slumbers  deep 

As  you,  O  happy  man,  do  now, 

Must  have  a  conscience  clear  and  free 
From  troublous  pangs  and  vain  ado ; 

So  ever  may  thy  slumbers  be  — 
So  ever  be  thy  conscience  too  ! 

And  when  the  last  sweet  sleep  of  all 

Shall  smooth  the  wrinkles  from  thy  brow, 

May  God  on  high  as  gently  guard 
Thy  slumbering  soul  as  I  do  now. 

This  incident  occurred  in  the  summer  of  1882.  Eleven 
years  after  Colonel  Lamon  lay  dying.  He  was  conscious  to 
the  last  moment,  but  for  the  last  sixteen  hours  he  had  lost 
the  power  of  speech.  His  daughter  watched  him  for  those 
sixteen  hours,  hoping  every  moment  he  would  be  able  to 
speak.  She  was  so  stunned  during  this  long  watch  that  she 
could  not  utter  a  prayer  to  comfort  her  father's  soul,  but  just 
before  the  end  came,  the  last  lines  of  the  little  poem  came  to 
her  like  an  inspiration  which  she  repeated  aloud  to  her  dying 

father  : 

"  And  when  the  last  sweet  sleep  of  all 

Shall  smooth  the  wrinkles  from  thy  brow, 
May  God  on  high  as  gently  guard 

Thy  slumbering  soul  as  I  do  now." 

XXXVI         MEMOIR   OF  WARD  ff.   LAMON. 

These  were  the  last  words  Colonel  Lamon  ever  heard  on 
earth.  He  died  at  eleven  o'clock  on  the  night  of  May  7th, 
1893;  and  many  most  interesting  chapters  of  Lincoln's 
history  have  perished  with  him. 

7)  t-fc^ 


'tyr*'  wur»JL4> 

*d  cfvn**^v 







"\1  7HEN  Mr.  Lincoln  was  nominated  for  the  Presi- 
dency in  1860,  a  campaign  book-maker  asked 
him  to  give  the  prominent  features  of  his  life.  He 
replied  in  the  language  of  Gray's  "  Elegy,"  that  his  life 
presented  nothing  but 

"  The  short  and  simple  annals  of  the  poor." 
He  had,  however,  a  few  months  previously,  written  for 
his  friend  Jesse  W.  Fell  the  following :  — 

I  was  born  Feb.  12,  1809,  in  Harden  County,  Kentucky. 
My  parents  were  both  born  in  Virginia,  of  undistinguished 
families  —  second  families,  perhaps  I  should  say.  My 
mother,  who  died  in  my  tenth  year,  was  of  a  family  of  the 
name  of  Hanks,  some  of  whom  now  reside  in  Adams,  some 
others  in  Macon  counties,  Illinois  —  My  paternal  grand- 
father, Abraham  Lincoln,  emigrated  from  Rockingham 
County,  Virginia,  to  Kentucky,  about  1781  or  2,  where,  a  year 


or  two  later,  he  was  killed  by  indians,  —  not  in  battle,  but  by 
stealth,  when  he  was  laboring  to  open  a  farm  in  the  forest  — 
His  ancestors,  who  were  quakers,  went  to  Virginia  from 
Berks  County,  Pennsylvania —  An  effort  to  identify  them 
with  the  New  England  family  of  the  same  name  ended  in 
nothing  more  definite,  than  a  similarity  of  Christian  names  in 
both  families,  such  as  Enoch,  Levi,  Mordecai,  Solomon, 
Abraham,  and  the  like  — 

My  father,  at  the  death  of  his  father,  was  but  six  years  of 
age;  and  he  grew  up,  literally  without  education —  He  re- 
moved from  Kentucky  to  what  is  now  Spencer  county, 
Indiana,  in  my  eighth  year —  We  reached  our  new  home 
about  the  time  the  State  came  into  the  Union —  It  was  a 
wild  region,  with  many  bears  and  other  wild  animals  still  in 
the  woods  —  There  I  grew  up  —  There  were  some  schools, 
so  called  ;  but  no  qualification  was  ever  required  of  a  teacher, 
beyond  "  readin,  ivritin,  and  cipherin "  to  the  Rule  of 
Three  —  If  a  straggler  supposed  to  understand  latin  hap- 
pened to  sojourn  in  the  neighborhood,  he  was  looked  upon 
as  a  wizzard —  There  was  absolutely  nothing  to  excite 
ambition  for  education.  Of  course  when  I  came  of  age  I  did 
not  know  much  —  Still,  somehow,  I  could  read,  write,  and 
cipher  to  the  Rule  of  Three ;  but  that  was  all  —  I  have  not 
been  to  school  since  —  The  little  advance  I  now  have  upon 
this  store  of  education,  I  have  picked  up  from  time  to  time 
under  the  pressure  of  necessity  — 

I  was  raised  to  farm  work,  which  I  continued  till  I  was 
twenty  two —  At  twenty  one  I  came  to  Illinois,  and 
passed  the  first  year  in  Macon  county —  Then  I  got  to 
New-Salem  at  that  time  in  Sangamon,  now  in  Menard 
county,  where  I  remained  a  year  as  a  sort  of  Clerk  in  a 
store  —  Then  came  the  Black  Hawk  war ;  and  I  was 
elected  a  Captain  of  Volunteers  —  a  success  which  gave  me 
more  pleasure  than  any  I  have  had  since  —  I  went  the 
campaign,  was  elected,  ran  for  the  Legislature  the  same  year 


(1832)  and  was  beaten  —  the  only  time  I  ever  have  been 
beaten  by  the  people —  The  next,  and  three  succeeding 
biennial  elections,  I  was  elected  to  the  Legislature —  I  was 
not  a  candidate  afterwards.  During  this  Legislative  period 
I  had  studied  law,  and  removed  to  Springfield  to  practice 
it  —  In  1846  I  was  once  elected  to  the  lower  House  of  Con- 
gress —  Was  not  a  candidate  for  re-election  —  From  1849 
to  1854,  both  inclusive,  practiced  law  more  assiduously  than 
ever  before  —  Always  a  whig  in  politics  ;  and  generally  on 
the  whig  electoral  tickets,  making  active  canvasses  —  I  was 
losing  interest  in  politics,  when  the  repeal  of  the  Missouri 
Compromise  aroused  me  again —  What  I  have  done  since 
then  is  pretty  well  known  — 

If  any  personal  description  of  me  is  thought  desirable,  it 
may  be  said,  I  am,  in  height,  six  feet,  four  inches,  nearly ; 
lean  in  flesh,  weighing,  on  an  average,  one  hundred  and 
eighty  pounds ;  dark  complexion,  with  coarse  black  hair,  and 
grey  eyes  —  No  other  marks  or  brands  recollected  — 
Yours  very  truly 


J.  W.  Fell,  Esq. 

WASHINGTON,  D.  C.,  March  20,  1872. 

We  the  undersigned  hereby  certify  that  the  foregoing 
statement  is  in  the  hand-writing  of  Abraham  Lincoln. 


*  The  circumstances  under  which  the  original  preceding  sketch 
was  written  are  explained  in  the  following  letter:  — 


Feb.  19,  1872. 

DEAR  SIR,  —  In  compliance  with  your  request,  I  place  in  your 
hands  a  copy  of  a  manuscript  in  my  possession  written  by  Abraham 
Lincoln,  giving  a  brief  account  of  his  early  history,  and  the  com- 


Were  I  to  say  in  this  polite  age  that  Abraham  Lincoln 
was  born  in  a  condition  of  life  most  humble  and  obscure, 
and  that  he  was  surrounded  by  circumstances  most 
unfavorable  to  culture  and  to  the  development  of  that 
nobility  and  purity  which  his  wonderful  character  after- 
ward displayed,  it  would  shock  the  fastidious  and  super- 
fine sensibilities  of  the  average  reader,  would  be  regarded 
as  prima  facie  evidence  of  felonious  intent,  and  would 
subject  me  to  the  charge  of  being  inspired  by  an  antago- 

mencement  of  that  political  career  which  terminated  in  his  election 
to  the  Presidency. 

It  may  not  be  inappropriate  to  say,  that  some  time  preceding 
the  writing  of  the  enclosed,  finding,  in  Pennsylvania  and  elsewhere, 
a  laudable  curiosity  in  the  public  mind  to  know  more  about  the 
early  history  of  Mr.  Lincoln,  and  looking,  too,  to  the  possibilities 
of  his  being  an  available  candidate  for  the  Presidency  in  1860,  I 
had  on  several  occasions  requested  of  him  this  information,  and 
that  it  was  not  without  some  hesitation  he  placed  in  my  hands 
even  this  very  modest  account  of  himself,  which  he  did  in  the 
month  of  December,  1859. 

To  this  were  added,  by  myself,  other  facts  bearing  upon  his 
legislative  and  political  history,  and  the  whole  forwarded  to  a 
friend  residing  in  my  native  county  (Chester,  Pa.),  —  the  Hon. 
Joseph  J.  Lewis,  former  Commissioner  of  Internal  Revenue, — 
who  made  them  the  basis  of  an  ably-written  and  somewhat  elabo- 
rate memoir  of  the  late  President,  which  appeared  in  the  Pennsyl- 
vania and  other  papers  of  the  country  in  January,  1860,  and  which 
contributed  to  prepare  the  way  for  the  subsequent  nomination  at 
Chicago  the  following  June. 

Believing  this  brief  and  unpretending  narrative,  written  by  him- 
self in  his  own  peculiar  vein,  —  and  in  justice  to  him  I  should  add, 
without  the  remotest  expectation  of  its  ever  appearing  in  public, 
—  with  the  attending  circumstances,  may  be  of  interest  to  the 
numerous  admirers  of  that  historic  and  truly  great  man,  I  place  it 
at  your  disposal. 

I  am  truly  yours, 



nistic  animus.  In  justice  to  the  truth  of  history,  how- 
ever, it  must  be  acknowledged  that  such  are  the  facts 
concerning  this  great  man,  regarding  whom  nothing 
should  be  concealed  from  public  scrutiny,  either  in  the 
surroundings  of  his  birth,  his  youth,  his  manhood,  or  his 
private  and  public  life  and  character.  Let  all  the  facts 
concerning  him  be  known,  and  he  will  appear  brighter 
and  purer  by  the  test. 

It  may  well  be  said  of  him  that  he  is  probably  the 
only  man,  dead  •  or  living,  whose  true  and  faithful  life 
could  be  written  and  leave  the  subject  more  ennobled 
by  the  minutiae  of  the  record.  His  faults  are  but  "  the 
shadows  which  his  virtues  cast."  It  is  my  purpose  in 
these  recollections  to  give  the  reader  a  closer  view 
of  the  great  war  President  than  is  afforded  by  current 
biographies,  which  deal  mainly  with  the  outward  phases 
of  his  life ;  and  in  carrying  out  this  purpose  I  will  en- 
deavor to  present  that  many-sided  man  in  those  relations 
where  his  distinguishing  traits  manifest  themselves  most 

With  the  grandeur  of  his  figure  in  history,  with  his 
genius  and  his  achievements  as  the  model  statesman  and 
chief  magistrate,  all  men  are  now  familiar ;  but  there  yet 
remain  to  be  sketched  many  phases  of  his  inner  life. 
Many  of  the  incidents  related  in  these  sketches  came  to 
my  knowledge  through  my  long-continued  association 
with  him  both  in  his  private  and  public  life  ;  therefore, 
if  the  Ego  shall  seem  at  times  pushed  forward  to  undue 
prominence,  it  will  be  because  of  its  convenience,  or 


rather  necessity,  certainly  not  from  any  motive  of  self- 

My  personal  acquaintance  with  Mr.  Lincoln  dates 
back  to  the  autumn  of  1847.  ^n  tnat  year,  attracted  by 
glowing  accounts  of  material  growth  and  progress  in  that 
part  of  the  West,  I  left  my  home  in  what  was  then 
Berkeley  County,  Virginia,  and  settled  at  Danville,  Ver- 
million  County,  Illinois.  That  county  and  Sangamon, 
including  Springfield,  the  new  capital  of  the  State,  were 
embraced  in  the  Eighth  Judicial  Circuit,  which  at  that 
early  day  consisted  of  fourteen  counties.  It  was  then 
the  custom  of  lawyers,  like  their  brethren  of  England, 
"  to  ride  the  circuit."  By  that  circumstance  the  people 
came  in  contact  with  all  the  lawyers  in  the  circuit,  and 
were  enabled  to  note  their  distinguishing  traits.  I  soon 
learned  that  the  man  most  celebrated,  even  in  those 
pioneer  days,  for  oddity,  originality,  wit,  ability,  and  elo- 
quence in  that  region  of  the  State  was  Abraham  Lincoln. 
My  great  curiosity  to  see  him  was  gratified  soon  after  I 
took  up  my  residence  at  Danville. 

I  was  introduced  to  Mr.  Lincoln  by  the  Hon.  John  T. 
Stuart,  for  some  years  his  partner  at  Springfield.  After 
a  comical  survey  of  my  fashionable  toggery,  —  my  swal- 
low-tail coat,  white  neck-cloth,  and  ruffled  shirt  (an 
astonishing  outfit  for  a  young  limb  of  the  law  in  that  set- 
tlement) ,  —  Mr.  Lincoln  said  :  "  And  so  you  are  a  cousin 
of  our  friend  John  J.  Brown ;  he  told  me  you  were  com- 
ing. Going  to  try  your  hand  at  the  law,  are  you?  I 
should  know  at  a  glance  that  you  were  a  Virginian  ;  but 


I  don't  think  you  would  succeed  at  splitting  rails.  That 
was  my  occupation  at  your  age,  and  I  don't  think  I  have 
taken  as  much  pleasure  in  anything  else  from  that  day  to 

I  assured  him,  perhaps  as  a  sort  of  defence  against  the 
eloquent  condemnation  implied  in  my  fashionable  claw- 
hammer, that  I  had  done  a  deal  of  hard  manual  labor  in 
my  time.  Much  amused  at  this  solemn  declaration,  Mr. 
Lincoln  said  :  "  Oh,  yes ;  you  Virginians  shed  barrels  of 
perspiration  while  standing  off  at  a  distance  and  superin- 
tending the  work  your  slaves  do  for  you.  It  is  different 
with  us.  Here  it  is  every  fellow  for  himself,  or  he  does  n't 
get  there." 

Mr.  Lincoln  soon  learned,  however,  that  my  detesta- 
tion of  slave  labor  was  quite  as  pronounced  as  his  own, 
and  from  that  hour  we  were  friends.  Until  the  day  of 
his  death  it  was  my  pleasure  and  good  fortune  to  retain 
his  confidence  unshaken,  as  he  retained  my  affection 

I  was  his  local  partner,  first  at  Danville,  and  afterward 
at  Bloomington.  We  rode  the  circuit  together,  traveling 
by  buggy  in  the  dry  seasons  and  on  horse-back  in  bad 
weather,  there  being  no  railroads  then  in  that  part  of  the 
State.  Mr.  Lincoln  had  defeated  that  redoubtable  cham- 
pion of  pioneer  Methodism,  the  Rev.  Peter  Cartwright, 
in  the  last  race  for  Congress.  Cartwright  was  an  oddity 
in  his  way,  quite  as  original  as  Lincoln  himself.  He  was 
a  foeman  worthy  of  Spartan  steel,  and  Mr.  Lincoln's 
fame  was  greatly  enhanced  by  his  victory  over  the  famous 


preacher.  Whenever  it  was  known  that  Lincoln  was  to 
make  a  speech  or  argue  a  case,  there  was  a  general  rush 
and  a  crowded  house.  It  mattered  little  what  subject 
he  was  discussing,  —  Lincoln  was  subject  enough  for  the 
people.  It  was  Lincoln  they  wanted  to  hear  and  see  ; 
and  his  progress  round  the  circuit  was  marked  by  a 
constantly  recurring  series  of  ovations. 

Mr.  Lincoln  was  from  the  beginning  of  his  circuit- 
riding  the  light  and  life  of  the  court.  The  most  trivial 
circumstance  furnished  a  back-ground  for  his  wit.  The 
following  incident,  which  illustrates  his  love  of  a  joke, 
occurred  in  the  early  days  of  our  acquaintance.  I,  being 
at  the  time  on  the  infant  side  of  twenty-one,  took  par- 
ticular pleasure  in  athletic  sports.  One  day  when  we 
were  attending  the  circuit  court  which  met  at  Blooming- 
ton,  111.,  I  was  wrestling  near  the  court  house  with  some 
one  who  had  challenged  me  to  a  trial,  and  in  the  scuffle 
made  a  large  rent  in  the  rear  of  my  trousers.  Before  I 
had  time  to  make  any  change,  I  was  called  into  court  to 
take  up  a  case.  The  evidence  was  finished.  I,  being 
the  Prosecuting  Attorney  at  the  time,  got  up  to  address 
the  jury.  Having  on  a  somewhat  short  coat,  my  misfor- 
tune was  rather  apparent.  One  of  the  lawyers,  for  a 
joke,  started  a  subscription  paper  which  was  passed  from 
one  member  of  the  bar  to  another  as  they  sat  by  a  long 
table  fronting  the  bench,  to  buy  a  pair  of  pantaloons  for 
Lamon,  — "  he  being,"  the  paper  said,  "  a  poor  but 
worthy  young  man."  Several  put  down  their  names 
with  some  ludicrous  subscription,  and  finally  the  paper 


was  laid  by  some  one  in  front  of  Mr.  Lincoln,  he 
being  engaged  in  writing  at  the  time.  He  quietly 
glanced  over  the  paper,  and,  immediately  taking  up  his 
pen,  wrote  after  his  name,  "I  can  contribute  nothing 
to  the  end  in  view." 

Although  Mr.  Lincoln  was  my  senior  by  eighteen 
years,  in  one  important  particular  I  certainly  was  in  a 
marvelous  degree  his  acknowledged  superior.  One  of 
the  first  things  I  learned  after  getting  fairly  under  way  as 
a  lawyer  was  to  charge  well  for  legal  services,  —  a  branch 
of  the  practice  that  Mr.  Lincoln  never  could  learn.  In 
fact,  the  lawyers  of  the  circuit  often  complained  that  his 
fees  were  not  at  all  commensurate  with  the  service  ren- 
dered. He  at  length  left  that  branch  of  the  business 
wholly  to  me ;  and  to  my  tender  mercy  clients  were 
turned  over,  to  be  slaughtered  according  to  my  pop- 
ular and  more  advanced  ideas  of  the  dignity  of  our 
profession.  This  soon  led  to  serious  and  shocking 

Early  in  our  practice  a  gentleman  named  Scott  placed 
in  my  hands  a  case  of  some  importance.  He  had  a 
demented  sister  who  possessed  property  to  the  amount 
of  $10,000,  mostly  in  cash.  A  "conservator,"  as  he 
was  called,  had  been  appointed  to  take  charge  of  the 
estate,  and  we  were  employed  to.  resist  a  motion  to 
remove  the  conservator.  A  designing  adventurer  had 
become  acquainted  with  the  unfortunate  girl,  and  know- 
ing that  she  had  money,  sought  to  marry  her ;  hence  the 
motion.  Scott,  the  brother  and  conservator,  before  we 



entered  upon  the  case,  insisted  that  I  should  fix  the 
amount  of  the  fee.  I  told  him  that  it  would  be  $250, 
adding,  however,  that  he  had  better  wait ;  it  might  not 
give  us  much  trouble,  and  in  that  event  a  less  amount 
would  do.  He  agreed  at  once  to  pay  $250,  as  he  ex- 
pected a  hard  contest  over  the  motion. 

The  case  was  tried  inside  of  twenty  minutes;  our 
success  was  complete.  Scott  was  satisfied,  and  cheer- 
fully paid  over  the  money  to  me  inside  the  bar,  Mr. 
Lincoln  looking  on.  Scott  then  went  out,  and  Mr.  Lin- 
coln asked,  "What  did  you  charge  that  man?"  I  told 
him  $250.  Said  he  :  "  Lamon,  that  is  all  wrong.  The 
service  was  not  worth  that  sum.  Give  him  back  at  least 
half  of  it." 

I  protested  that  the  fee  was  fixed  in  advance ;  that 
Scott  was  perfectly  satisfied,  and  had  so  expressed  him- 
self. "  That  may  be,"  retorted  Mr.  Lincoln,  with  a  look 
of  distress  and  of  undisguised  displeasure,  "  but  /  am 
not  satisfied.  This  is  positively  wrong.  Go,  call  him 
back  and  return  half  the  money  at  least,  or  I  will  not 
receive  one  cent  of  it  for  my  share." 

I  did  go,  and  Scott  was  astonished  when  I  handed 
back  half  the  fee. 

This  conversation  had  attracted  the  attention  of  the 
lawyers  and  the  court.  Judge  David  Davis,  then  on  our 
circuit  bench,  called  Mr.  Lincoln  to  him.  The  judge 
never  could  whisper,  but  in  this  instance  he  probably 
did  his  best.  At  all  events,  in  attempting  to  whisper 
to  Mr.  Lincoln  he  trumpeted  his  rebuke  in  about  these 


words,  and  in  rasping  tones  that  could  be  heard  all 
over  the  court  room :  "  Lincoln,  I  have  been  watching 
you  and  Lamon.  You  are  impoverishing  this  bar  by 
your  picayune  charges  of  fees,  and  the  lawyers  have 
reason  to  complain  of  you.  You  are  now  almost  as 
poor  as  Lazarus,  and  if  you  don't  make  people  pay 
you  more  for  your  services  you  will  die  as  poor  as  Job's 
turkey ! " 

Judge  O.  L.  Davis,  the  leading  lawyer  in  that  part  of 
the  State,  promptly  applauded  this  malediction  from 
the  bench;  but  Mr.  Lincoln  was  immovable.  "That 
money,"  said  he,  "  comes  out  of  the  pocket  of  a  poor, 
demented  girl,  and  I  would  rather  starve  than  swindle 
her  in  this  manner." 

That  evening  the  lawyers  got  together  and  tried  Mr. 
Lincoln  before  a  moot  tribunal  called  "  The  Ogmathorial 
Court."  He  was  found  guilty  and  fined  for  his  awful 
crime  against  the  pockets  of  his  brethren  of  the  bar. 
The  fine  he  paid  with  great  good  humor,  and  then  kept 
the  crowd  of  lawyers  in  uproarious  laughter  until  after 
midnight.  He  persisted  in  his  revolt,  however,  declar- 
ing that  with  his  consent  his  firm  should  never  during  its 
life,  or  after  its  dissolution,  deserve  the  reputation  en- 
joyed by  those  shining  lights  of  the  profession,  "  Catch 
'em  and  Cheat  "em." 

In  these  early  days  Mr.  Lincoln  was  once  employed  in 
a  case  against  a  railroad  company  in  Illinois.  The  case 
was  concluded  in  his  favor,  except  as  to  the  pronounce- 
ment of  judgment.  Before  this  was  done,  he  rose  and 


stated  that  his  opponents  had  not  proved  all  that  was 
justly  due  to  them  in  offset,  and  proceeded  to  state 
briefly  that  justice  required  that  an  allowance  should  be 
made  against  his  client  for  a  certain  amount.  The 
court  at  once  acquiesced  in  his  statement,  and  immedi- 
ately proceeded  to  pronounce  judgment  in  accordance 
therewith.  He  was  ever  ready  to  sink  his  selfish  love  of 
victory  as  well  as  his  partiality  for  his  client's  favor  and 
interest  for  the  sake  of  exact  justice. 

In  many  of  the  courts  on  the  circuit  Mr.  Lincoln  would 
be  engaged  on  one  side  or  the  other  of  every  case  on 
the  docket,  and  yet,  owing  to  his  low  charges  and  the 
large  amount  of  professional  work  which  he  did  for  noth- 
ing, at  the  time  he  left  Springfield  for  Washington  to  take 
the  oath  of  office  as  President  of  the  United  States  he 
was  not  worth  more  than  seven  thousand  dollars,  —  his 
property  consisting  of  the  house  in  which  he  had  lived, 
and  eighty  acres  of  land  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  river 
from  Omaha,  Neb.  This  land  he  had  entered  with  his 
bounty  land-warrant  obtained  for  services  in  the  Black 
Hawk  War.1 

Mr.  Lincoln  was  always  simple  in  his  habits  and  tastes. 
He  was  economical  in  everything,  and  his  wants  were 
few.  He  was  a  good  liver ;  and  his  family,  though  not 
extravagant,  were  much  given  to  entertainments,  and 
saw  and  enjoyed  many  ways  of  spending  money  not 
observable  by  him.  After  all  his  inexpensive  habits,  and 
a  long  life  of  successful  law  practice,  he  was  reduced  to 
the  necessity  of  borrowing  money  to  defray  expenses  for 


the  first  months  of  his  residence  at  the  White  House. 
This  money  he  repaid  after  receiving  his  salary  as  Presi- 
dent for  the  first  quarter. 

A  few  months  after  meeting  Mr.  Lincoln,  I  attended 
an  entertainment  given  at  his  residence  in  Springfield. 
After  introducing  me  to  Mrs.  Lincoln,  he  left  us  in  con- 
versation. I  remarked  to  her  that  her  husband  was  a 
great  favorite  in  the  eastern  part  of  the  State,  where  I 
had  been  stopping.  "  Yes,"  she  replied,  "  he  is  a  great 
favorite  everywhere.  He  is  to  be  President  of  the 
United  States  some  day ;  if  I  had  not  thought  so  I  never 
would  have  married  him,  for  you  can  see  he  is  not  pretty. 
But  look  at  him  !  Does  n't  he  look  as  if  he  would  make  a 
magnificent  President?  " 

"Magnificent"  somewhat  staggered  me;  but  there 
was,  without  appearing  ungallant,  but  one  reply  to  make 
to  this  pointed  question.  I  made  it,  but  did  so  under  a 
mental  protest,  for  I  am  free  to  admit  that  he  did  not 
look  promising  for  that  office ;  on  the  contrary,  to  me  he 
looked  about  as  unpromising  a  candidate  as  I  could  well 
imagine  the  American  people  were  ever  likely  to  put 
forward.  At  that  time  I  felt  convinced  that  Mrs.  Lin- 
coln was  running  Abraham  beyond  his  proper  distance  in 
that  race.  I  did  not  thoroughly  know  the  man  then ; 
afterward  I  never  saw  the  time  when  I  was  not  willing  to 
apologize  for  my  misguided  secret  protest.  Mrs.  Lin- 
coln, from  that  day  to  the  day  of  his  inauguration,  never 
wavered  in  her  faith  that  her  hopes  in  this  respect  would 
be  realized. 


In  1858,  when  Mr.  Lincoln  and  Judge  Douglas  were 
candidates  for  the  United  States  Senate,  and  were  mak- 
ing their  celebrated  campaign  in  Illinois,  General  McClel- 
lan  was  Superintendent  of  the  Illinois  Central  Railroad, 
and  favored  the  election  of  Judge  Douglas.  At  all 
points  on  the  road  where  meetings  between  the  two 
great  politicians  were  held,  either  a  special  train  or  a 
special  car  was  furnished  to  Judge  Douglas;  but  Mr. 
Lincoln,  when  he  failed  to  get  transportation  on  the 
regular  trains  in  time  to  meet  his  appointments,  was  re- 
duced to  the  necessity  of  going  as  freight.  There  being 
orders  from  headquarters  to  permit  no  passenger  to 
travel  on  freight  trains,  Mr.  Lincoln's  persuasive  powers 
were  often  brought  into  requisition.  The  favor  was 
granted  or  refused  according  to  the  politics  of  the 

On  one  occasion,  in  going  to  meet  an  appointment  in 
the  southern  part  of  the  State,  —  that  section  of  Illinois 
called  Egypt,  —  Mr.  Lincoln  and  I,  with  other  friends, 
were  traveling  in  the  "  caboose  "  of  a  freight  train,  when 
we  were  switched  off  the  main  track  to  allow  a  special 
train  to  pass  in  which  Mr.  Lincoln's  more  aristocratic 
rival  was  being  conveyed.  The  passing  train  was  deco- 
rated with  banners  and  flags,  and  carried  a  band  of 
music  which  was  playing  "  Hail  to  the  Chief."  As  the 
train  whistled  past,  Mr.  Lincoln  broke  out  in  a  fit  of 
laughter  and  said,  "Boys,  the  gentleman  in  that  car 
evidently  smelt  no  royalty  in  our  carriage." 

On  arriving  at  the  point  where  these   two  political 


gladiators  were  to  test  their  strength,  there  was  the  same 
contrast  between  their  respective  receptions.  The  judgy 
was  met  at  the  station  by  the  distinguished  Democratic 
citizens  of  the  place,  who  constituted  almost  the  whole 
population,  and  was  marched  to  the  camping  ground  to 
the  sound  of  music,  shouts  from  the  populace,  and  under 
floating  banners  borne  by  his  enthusiastic  admirers.  Mr. 
Lincoln  was  escorted  by  a  few  Republican  politicians ; 
no  enthusiasm  was  displayed,  no  music  greeted  his  ears, 
nor,  in  fact,  any  other  sound  except  the  warble  of  the 
bull-frogs  in  a  neighboring  swamp.  The  signs  and  pros- 
pects for  Mr.  Lincoln's  election  by  the  support  of  the 
people  looked  gloomy  indeed. 

Judge  Douglas  spoke  first,  and  so  great  was  the  enthu- 
siasm excited  by  his  speech  that  Mr.  Lincoln's  friends 
became  apprehensive  of  trouble.  When  spoken  to  on 
the  subject  he  said  :  "  I  am  not  going  to  be  terrified  by 
an  excited  populace,  and  hindered  from  speaking  my 
honest  sentiments  upon  this  infernal  subject  of  human 
slavery."  He  rose,  took  off  his  hat,  and  stood  before 
that  audience  for  a  considerable  space  of  time  in  a  seem- 
ingly reflective  mood,  looking  over  the  vast  throng  of 
people  as  if  making  a  preliminary  survey  of  their  tenden- 
cies. He  then  bowed,  and  commenced  by  saying :  "  My 
fellow-citizens,  I  learn  that  my  friend  Judge  Douglas  said 
in  a  public  speech  that  I,  while  in  Congress,  had  voted 
against  the  appropriation  for  supplies  to  the  Mexican 
soldiers  during  the  late  war.  This,  fellow-citizens,  is  a 
perversion  of  the  facts.  It  is  true  that  I  was  opposed  to 


the  policy  of  the  Administration  in  declaring  war  against 
Mexico8;  but  when  war  was  declared,  I  never  failed  to 
vote  for  the  support  of  any  proposition  looking  to  the 
comfort  of  our  poor  fellows  who  were  maintaining  the 
dignity  of  our  flag  in  a  war  that  I  thought  unnecessary 
and  unjust."*  He  gradually  became  more  and  more 
excited ;  his  voice  thrilled  and  his  whole  frame  shook. 
I  was  at  the  time  sitting  on  the  stand  beside  Hon.  O.  B. 
Ficklin,  who  had  served  in  Congress  with  Mr.  Lincoln  in 
1847.  Mr.  Lincoln  reached  back  and  took  Ficklin  by 
the  coat-collar,  back  of  his  neck,  and  in  no  gentle  man- 
ner lifted  him  from  his  seat  as  if  he  had  been  a  kitten, 
and  said :  "  Fellow-citizens,  here  is  Ficklin,  who  was  at 
that  time  in  Congress  with  me,  and  he  knows  it  is  a  lie." 
He  shook  Ficklin  until  his  teeth  chattered.  Fearing 
that  he  would  shake  Ficklin's  head  off,  I  grasped  Mr. 
Lincoln's  hand  and  broke  his  grip.  Mr.  Ficklin  sat 
down,  and  Lincoln  continued  his  address. 

After  the  speaking  was  over,  Mr.  Ficklin,  who  had 
been  opposed  to  Lincoln  in  politics,  but  was  on  terms  of 

*  For  some  time  before  this  speech  Mr.  Lincoln  had  been 
receiving  letters  from  friends  inquiring  as  to  the  truth  or  falsity  of 
Mr.  Douglas's  charge.  Knowing  that  he  had  opposed  the  war 
with  Mexico,  while  in  Congress,  they  were  in  doubt  whether  or 
not  the  charge  was  true,  and  believed  that  if  true  it  would  be  dan- 
gerous to  his  prospects.  To  one  of  these  anxious  friends  he 
writes  under  date  of  June  24,  1858 :  "  Give  yourself  no  concern 
about  my  voting  against  the  supplies,  unless  you  are  without  faith 
that  a  lie  can  be  successfully  contradicted.  There  is  not  a  word 
of  truth  in  the  charge,  and  I  am  just  considering  a  little  as  to  the 
best  shape  to  put  a  contradiction  in.  Show  this  to  whom  you 
please,  but  do  not  publish  it  in  the  papers." 


warm  personal  friendship  with  him,  turned  to  him  and 
said :  "  Lincoln,  you  nearly  shook  all  the  Democracy 
out  of  me  to-day." 

Mr.  Lincoln  replied :  "  That  reminds  me  of  what 
Paul  said  to  Agrippa,  which  in  language  and  substance  I 
will  formulate  as  follows :  I  would  to  God  that  such 
Democracy  as  you  folks  here  in  Egypt  have  were  not  only 
almost,  but  altogether  shaken  out  of,  not  only  you,  but 
all  that  heard  me  this  day,  and  that  you  would  all  join  in 
assisting  in  shaking  off  the  shackles  of  the  bondmen  by 
all  legitimate  means,  so  that  this  country  may  be  made 
free  as  the  good  Lord  intended  it." 

Ficklin  continued  :  "  Lincoln,  I  remember  of  reading 
somewhere  in  the  same  book  from  which  you  get  your 
Agrippa  story,  that  Paul,  whom  you  seem  to  desire  to 
personate,  admonished  all  servants  (slaves)  to  be  obedi- 
ent to  them  that  are  their  masters  according  to  the  flesh, 
in  fear  and  trembling.  It  would  seem  that  neither  our 
Saviour  nor  Paul  saw  the  iniquity  of  slavery  as  you  and 
your  party  do.  But  you  must  not  think  that  where  you 
fail  by  argument  to  convince  an  old  friend  like  myself 
and  win  him  over  to  your  heterodox  abolition  opinions, 
you  are  justified  in  resorting  to  violence  such  as  you 
practiced  on  me  to-day.  Why,  I  never  had  such  a  shak- 
ing up  in  the  whole  course  of  my  life.  Recollect  that 
that  good  old  book  that  you  quote  from  somewhere  says 
in  effect  this,  '  Woe  be  unto  him  who  goeth  to  Egypt  for 
help,  for  he  shall  fall.  The  holpen  shall  fall,  and  they 
shall  all  fall  together.'  The  next  thing  we  know,  Lin- 


coin,  you  and  your  party  will  be  advocating  a  war  to  kill 
all  of  us  pro-slavery  people  off." 

"  No,  "  said  Lincoln,  "  I  will  never  advocate  such  an 
extremity ;  but  it  will  be  well  for  you  folks  if  you  don't 
force  such  a  necessity  on  the  country." 

Lincoln  then  apologized  for  his  rudeness  in  jostling 
the  muscular  Democracy  of  his  friend,  and  they  sepa- 
rated, each  going  his  own  way,  little  thinking  then  that 
what  they  had  just  said  in  badinage  would  be  so  soon 
realized  in  such  terrible  consequences  to  the  country. 

The  following  letter  shows  Lincoln's  view  of  the  politi- 
cal situation  at  that  time  :  — 

SPRINGFIELD,  June  n,  1858. 
W.  H.  LAMON,  Esq. : 

My  DEAR  SIR,  —  Yours  of  the  pth  written  at  Joliet  is  just 
received  Two  or  three  days  ago  I  learned  that  McLean 
had  appointed  delegates  in  favor  of  Lovejoy,  and  thencefor- 
ward I  have  considered  his  renomination  a  fixed  fact.  My 
opinion  —  if  my  opinion  is  of  any  consequence  in  this  case, 
in  which  it  is  no  business  of  mine  to  interfere  —  remains  un- 
changed, that  running  an  independent  candidate  against 
Lovejoy  will  not  do  ;  that  it  will  result  in  nothing  but  disas- 
ter all  round.  In  the  first  place,  whoever  so  runs  will  be 
beaten  and  will  be  spotted  for  life  ;  in  the  second  place, 
while  the  race  is  in  progress,  he  will  be  under  the  strongest 
temptation  to  trade  with  the  Democrats,  and  to  favor  the 
election  of  certain  of  their  friends  to  the  Legislature;  thirdly, 
I  shall  be  held  responsible  for  it,  and  Republican  members 
of  the  Legislature,  who  are  partial  to  Lovejoy,  will  for  that 
purpose  oppose  us  ;  and,  lastly,  it  will  in  the  end  lose  us  the 
District  altogether.  There  is  no  safe  way  but  a  convention  ; 
and  if  in  that  convention,  upon  a  common  platform  which  all 
are  willing  to  stand  upon,  one  who  has  been  known  as  an 

if.  /£  QZa/tr^r^ 


Abolitionist,  but  who  is  now  occupying  none  but  common 
ground,  can  get  the  majority  of  the  votes  to  which  all  look 
for  an  election,  there  is  no  safe  way  but  to  submit. 

As  to  the  inclination  of  some  Republicans  to  favor  Doug- 
las, that  is  one  of  the  chances  I  have  to  run,  and  which  I 
intend  to  run  with  patience. 

I  write  in  the  court  room.  Court  has  opened,  and  I  must 

Yours  as  ever, 
(Signed)  A.  LINCOLN. 

During  this  senatorial  campaign  in  1858,  Hon.  James 
G.  Elaine  predicted  in  a  letter,  which  was  extensively 
published,  that  Douglas  would  beat  Lincoln  for  the  United 
States  Senate,  but  that  Lincoln  would  beat  Douglas  for 
President  in  1860.  Mr.  Lincoln  cut  out  the  paragraph 
of  the  letter  containing  this  prediction,  and  placed  it  in 
his  pocket-book,  where  I  have  no  doubt  it  was  found 
after  his  death,  for  only  a  very  short  time  before  that 
event  I  saw  it  in  his  possession.8 

After  Mr.  Lincoln's  election  he  was  sorely  beset  by 
rival  claimants  for  the  spoils  of  office  in  his  own  State, 
and  distracted  by  jealousies  among  his  own  party  adhe- 
rents. The  State  was  divided  so  far  as  the  Republican 
party  was  concerned  into  three  cliques  or  factions.  The 
Chicago  faction  was  headed  by  Norman  B.  Judd  and 
Ebenezer  Peck,  the  Bloomington  faction  by  Judge  David 
Davis,  Leonard  Swett,  and  others,  and  that  of  Springfield 
by  J.  K.  Dubois,  O.  M.  Hatch,  William  Butler,  and 
others ;  and  however  anxious  Mr.  Lincoln  might  be  to 
honor  his  State  by  a  Cabinet  appointment,  he  was  power- 


less  to  do  so  without  incurring  the  hostility  of  the 
factions  from  which  he  could  not  make  a  selection. 
Harmony  was,  however,  in  a  large  measure  preserved 
among  the  Republican  politicians  by  sending  Judd  as 
Minister  to  Prussia,  and  by  anticipating  a  place  on  the 
Supreme  Bench  for  Judge  Davis.  Swett  wanted  nothing, 
and  middle  Illinois  was  satisfied.  Springfield  controlled 
the  lion's  share  of  State  patronage,  and  satisfaction  was 
given  all  round  as  far  as  circumstances  would  allow. 

Between  the  time  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  election  and  the 
nth  of  February,  1861,  he  spent  his  time  in  a  room  in 
the  State  House  which  was  assigned  to  him  as  an  office. 
Young  Mr.  Nicolay,  a  very  clever  and  competent  clerk, 
was  lent  to  him  by  the  Secretary  of  State  to  do  his  writ- 
ing. During  this  time  he  was  overrun  with  visitors  from 
all  quarters  of  the  country,  —  some  to  assist  in  forming 
his  Cabinet,  some  to  direct  how  patronage  should  be  dis- 
tributed, others  to  beg  for  or  demand  personal  advance- 
ment. So  painstaking  was  he,  that  every  one  of  the 
many  thousand  letters  which  poured  in  upon  him  was 
read  and  promptly  answered.  The  burden  of  the  new 
and  overwhelming  labor  came  near  prostrating  him  with 
serious  illness. 

Some  days  before  his  departure  for  Washington,  he 
wrote  to  me  at  Bloomington  that  he  desired  to  see  me  at 
once.  I  went  to  Springfield,  and  Mr.  Lincoln  said  to 
me  :  "  Hill,  on  the  1 1  th  I  go  to  Washington,  and  I  want 
you  to  go  along  with  me.  Our  friends  have  already 
asked  me  to  send  you  as  Consul  to  Paris.  You  know  I 


would  cheerfully  give  you  anything  for  which  our  friends 
may  ask  or  which  you  may  desire,  but  it  looks  as  if  we 
might  have  war.  In  that  case  I  want  you  with  me.  In 
fact,  I  must  have  you.  So  get  yourself  ready  and  come 
along.  It  will  be  handy  to  have  you  around.  If  there 
is  to  be  a  fight,  I  want  you  to  help  me  to  do  my  share 
of  it,  as  you  have  done  in  times  past.  You  must  go,  and 
go  to  stay." 



ON  the  nth  of  February,  1861,  the  arrangements 
for  Mr.  Lincoln's  departure  from  Springfield  were 
completed.  It  was  intended  to  occupy  the  time  remain- 
ing between  that  date  and  the  4th  of  March  with  a  grand 
tour  from  State  to  State  and  city  to  city.  Mr.  Wood, 
"  recommended  by  Senator  Seward,"  was  the  chief 
manager.  He  provided  special  trains,  to  be  preceded 
by  pilot  engines  all  the  way  through. 

It  was  a  gloomy  day :  heavy  clouds  floated  overhead, 
and  a  cold  rain  was  falling.  Long  before  eight  o'clock, 
a  great  mass  of  people  had  collected  at  the  station  of  the 
Great  Western  Railway  to  witness  the  event  of  the  day. 
At  precisely  five  minutes  before  eight,  Mr.  Lincoln,  pre- 
qeded  by  Mr.  Wood,  emerged  from  a  private  room  in  the 
station,  and  passed  slowly  to  the  car,  the  people  falling 
back  respectfully  on  either  side,  and  as  many  as  possible 
shaking  his  hand.  Having  reached  the  train  he  ascended 
the  rear  platform,  and,  facing  the  throng  which  had 
closed  around  him,  drew  himself  up  to  his  full  height, 
removed  his  hat,  and  stood  for  several  seconds  in  pro- 
found silence.  His  eye  roved  sadly  over  that  sea  of  up- 
turned faces ;  and  he  thought  he  read  in  them  again  the 


sympathy  and  friendship  which  he  had  often  tried,  and 
which  he  never  needed  more  than  he  did  then.  There 
was  an  unusual  quiver  on  his  lip,  and  a  still  more 
unusual  tear  on  his  furrowed  cheek.  His  solemn  man- 
ner, his  long  silence,  were  as  full  of  melancholy  eloquence 
as  any  words  he  could  have  uttered.  Of  what  was  he 
thinking?  Of  the  mighty  changes  which  had  lifted  him 
from  the  lowest  to  the  highest  estate  in  the  nation ;  of  the 
weary  road  which  had  brought  him  to  this  lofty  summit ; 
of  his  poverty-stricken  boyhood ;  of  his  poor  mother 
lying  beneath  the  tangled  underbrush  in  a  distant  for- 
est? Whatever  the  particular  character  of  his  thoughts, 
it  is  evident  that  they  were  retrospective  and  painful. 
To  those  who  were  anxiously  waiting  to  catch  words 
upon  which  the  fate  of  the  nation  might  hang,  it  seemed 
long  until  he  had  mastered  his  feelings  sufficiently  to 
speak.  At  length  he  began  in  a  husky  tone  of  voice, 
and  slowly  and  impressively  delivered  his  farewell  to 
his  neighbors.  Imitating  his  example,  every  man  in 
the  crowd  stood  with  his  head  uncovered  in  the  fast- 
falling  rain. 

"Friends,  no  one  who  has  never  been  placed  in  a  like 
position  can  understand  my  feelings  at  this  hour,  nor  the 
oppressive  sadness  I  feel  at  this  parting.  For  more  than  a 
quarter  of  a  century  I  have  lived  among  you,  and  during  all 
that  time  I  have  received  nothing  but  kindness  at  your  hands. 
Here  I  have  lived  from  my  youth,  until  now  I  am  an  old  man. 
Here  the  most  sacred  ties  of  earth  were  assumed  ;  here  all  my 
children  were  born ;  and  here  one  of  them  lies  buried.  To 
you,  dear  friends,  I  owe  all  that  I  have,  all  that  I  am.  '  All 


the  strange,  checkered  past  seems  to  crowd  now  upon  my 
mind.'1  To-day  I  leave  you.  I  go  to  assume  a  task  more 
difficult  than  that  which  devolved  upon  Washington.  Unless 
the  great  God,  who  assisted  him,  shall  be  with  me  and  aid 
me,  I  must  fail ;  but  if  the  same  omniscient  mind  and  almighty 
arm  that  directed  and  protected  him  shall  guide  and  support 
me,  I  shall  not  fail,  —  I  shall  succeed.  Let  us  all  pray  that 
the  God  of  our  fathers  may  not  forsake  us  now.  To  Him 
I  commend  you  all.  Permit  me  to  ask  that,  with  equal 
security  and  faith,  you  will  invoke  His  wisdom  and  guidance 
for  me.  With  these  few  words  I  must  leave  you,  —  for  how 
long  I  know  not.  Friends,  one  and  all,  I  must  now  bid  you 
an  affectionate  farewell." 

Few  more  impressive  utterances  were  ever  made  by 
any  one  than  found  expression  in  this  simple  speech. 
This  farewell  meant  more  to  him  than  to  his  hearers. 
To  them  it  meant,  "Good-by  for  the  present,"  —  a 
commendation  of  his  dearest  friends  to  the  watchful  care 
of  God  until  his  return.  To  him  it  foreboded  eternity 
ere  their  reunion,  —  his  last  solemn  benediction  until 
the  resurrection.  He  never  believed  he  would  return 
to  the  hallowed  scenes  of  his  adopted  State,  to  his 
friends  and  his  home.  He  had  felt  for  many  years  that 
he  would  suffer  a  violent  death,  and  at  different  times 
expressed  his  apprehensions  before  and  after  his  election 
as  President. 

The  first  night  after  our  departure  from  Springfield 
was  spent  in  Indianapolis.  Governor  Yates,  the  Hon. 
O.  H.  Browning,  Jesse  K.  Dubois,  O.  M.  Hatch,  Josiah 
Allen,  of  Indiana,  and  others,  after  taking  leave  of  Mr. 
Lincoln  to  return  to  their  respective  homes,  took  me 


into  a  room,  locked  the  door,  and  proceeded  in  the  most 
solemn  and  impressive  manner  to  instruct  me  as  to  my 
duties  as  the  special  guardian  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  person 
during  the  rest  of  his  journey  to  Washington.  The 
lesson  was  concluded  by  Uncle  Jesse,  as  Mr.  Dubois  was 
commonly  called,  who  said :  "  Now,  Lamon,  we  have 
regarded  you  as  the  Tom  Hyer  of  Illinois,  with  Morrissey 
attachment.  We  intrust  the  sacred  life  of  Mr.  Lincoln  to 
your  keeping ;  and  if  you  don't  protect  it,  never  return 
to  Illinois,  for  we  will  murder  you  on  sight." 

With  this  amiable  threat,  delivered  in  a  jocular  tone, 
but  with  a  feeling  of  deep,  ill-disguised  alarm  for  the 
safety  of  the  President-elect,  in  which  they  all  shared, 
the  door  was  unlocked  and  they  took  their  leave.  If  I 
had  been  remiss  in  my  duty  toward  Mr.  Lincoln  during 
that  memorable  journey,  I  have  no  doubt  those  sturdy 
men  would  have  made  good  some  part  of  their  threat. 

The  journey  from  Springfield  to  Philadelphia  was  not 
characterized  by  any  scene  unusual  or  more  eventful 
than  what  was  ordinary  on  such  occasions,  notwithstand- 
ing that  so  much  has  been  written  about  thrilling  dangers, 
all  of  which  were  imagined  but  not  encountered.  Mr. 
Lincoln's  speeches  were  the  all-absorbing  events  of  the 
hour.  The  people  everywhere  were  eager  to  hear  a 
forecast  of  his  policy,  and  he  was  as  determined  to  keep 
silence  on  that  subject  until  it  was  made  manifest  in 
his  Inaugural  Address.  After  having  been  en  route 
a  day  or  two,  he  told  me  that  he  had  done  much  hard 
work  in  his  life,  but  to  make  speeches  day  after  day, 



with  the  object  of  speaking  and  saying  nothing,  was  the 
hardest  work  he  ever  had  done.  "  I  wish,"  said  he, 
"that  this  thing  were  through  with,  and  I  could  find 
peace  and  quiet  somewhere." 

On  arriving  at  Albany,  N.  Y.,  Mr.  Thurlow  Weed  asked 
me  where  Mr.  Lincoln  was  going  to  be  domiciled  in 
Washington  until  he  was  inaugurated.  I  told  him 
Messrs.  Trumbull  and  Washburne  had  provided  quarters 
for  him ;  that  they  had  rented  a  house  on  Thirteenth  or 
Fourteenth  Street,  N.  W.,  for  his  reception,  and  that 
Mr.  Lincoln  had  submitted  the  matter  to  me,  asking  me 
to  confer  with  Capt.  John  Pope,  one  of  our  party  who 
was  an  old  friend  of  his,  and  to  make  just  such  arrange- 
ments as  I  thought  best  for  his  quarters  in  Washington. 
Mr.  Weed  said,  "It  will  never  do  to  allow  him  to  go 
to  a  private  house  to  be  under  the  influence  of  State 
control.  He  is  now  public  property,  and  ought  to  be 
where  he  can  be  reached  by  the  people  until  he  is 
inaugurated."  We  then  agreed  that  Willard's  Hotel 
would  be  the  best  place,  and  the  following  letter  was 
written  to  Mr.  Willard  to  arrange  for  the  reception  of 
the  Presidential  party  :  — 

ALBANY,  Feb.  19,  1861. 

DEAR  WILLARD,  —  Mr.  Lincoln  will  be  your  guest. 
In  arranging  his  apartments,  please   reserve  nearest  him 
apartments  for  two  of  his  friends,  Judge    Davis  and   Mr. 


Truly  yours, 

(Signed)  THURLOW  WEED. 

Mrs.  Lincoln  and  one  son  accompany  him. 





This  arrangement  was  reported  to  Mr.  Lincoln,  who 
said :  "  I  fear  it  will  give  mortal  offense  to  our  friends, 
but  I  think  the  arrangement  a  good  one.  I  can  readily 
see  that  many  other  well  meant  plans  will  '  gang  aglee,' 
but  I  am  sorry.  The  truth  is,  I  suppose  I  am  now  public 
property;  and  a  public  inn  is  the  place  where  people 
can  have  access  to  me." 

Mr.  Lincoln  had  prepared  his  Inaugural  Address  with 
great  care,  and  up  to  the  time  of  his  arrival  in  Washington 
he  had  not  shown  it  to  any  one.  No  one  had  been  con- 
sulted as  to  what  he  should  say  on  that  occasion.  During 
the  journey  the  Address  was  made  an  object  of  special 
care,  and  was  guarded  with  more  than  ordinary  vigilance. 
It  was  carefully  stored  away  in  a  satchel,  which  for  the 
most  of  the  time  received  his  personal  supervision.  At 
Harrisburg,  however,  the  precious  bag  was  lost  sight  of. 
This  was  a  matter  which  for  prudential  reasons  could 
not  be  much  talked  about,  and  concerning  which  no 
great  amount  of  anxiety  could  be  shown.  Mr.  Lincoln 
had  about  concluded  that  his  Address  was  lost.  It  at 
length  dawned  upon  him  that  on  arriving  at  Harris- 
burg  he  had  intrusted  the  satchel  to  his  son  Bob,  then 
a  boy  in  his  teens.  He  at  once  hunted  up  the  boy  and 
asked  him  what  he  had  done  with  the  bag.  Robert 
confessed  that  in  the  excitement  of  the  reception  he 
thought  that  he  had  given  it  to  a  waiter  of  the  hotel 
or  to  some  one,  he  could  n't  tell  whom.  Lincoln  was  in 
despair.  Only  ten  days  remained  until  the  inauguration, 
and  no  Address ;  not  even  a  trace  of  the  notes  was 
preserved  from  which  it  had  been  prepared. 


I  had  never  seen  Mr.  Lincoln  so  much  annoyed,  so 
much  perplexed,  and  for  the  time  so  angry.  He  seldom 
manifested  a  spirit  of  anger  toward  his  children,  —  this 
was  the  nearest  approach  to  it  I  had  ever  witnessed. 
He  and  I  started  in  search  of  the  satchel.  We  went 
first  to  the  hotel  office,  where  we  were  informed  that  if 
an  employe  of  the  hotel  had  taken  charge  of  it,  it  would 
be  found  in  the  baggage-room.  On  going  there,  we 
found  a  great  pile  of  all  kinds  of  baggage  in  promiscuous 
confusion.  Mr.  Lincoln's  keen  eye  soon  discovered  a 
satchel  which  he  thought  his  own ;  taking  it  in  his  hand 
eagerly  he  tried  his  key ;  it  fitted  the  lock,  —  the  bag 
opened,  and  to  our  astonishment  it  contained  nothing 
but  a  soiled  shirt,  several  paper  collars,  a  pack  of  cards, 
and  a  bottle  of  whiskey  nearly  full.  In  spite  of  his 
perplexity,  the  ludicrous  mistake  overcame  Mr.  Lincoln's 
gravity,  and  we  both  laughed  heartily,  much  to  the 
amusement  of  the  bystanders.  Shortly  afterward  we 
found  among  the  mass  the  bag  containing  the  precious 

I  shall  never  forget  Mr.  Lincoln's  expression  and  what 
he  said  when  he  first  informed  me  of  his  supposed  loss, 
and  enlisted  my  services  in  search  of  it.  He  held  his 
head  down  for  a  moment,  and  then  whispered  :  "  Lamon, 
I  guess  I  have  lost  my  certificate  of  moral  character, 
written  by  myself.  Bob  has  lost  my  gripsack  containing 
my  Inaugural  Address.  I  want  you  to  help  me  to  find 
it.  I  feel  a  good  deal  as  the  old  member  of  the  Meth- 
odist Church  did  when  he  lost  his  wife  at  the  camp- 


meeting,  and  went  up  to  an  old  elder  of  the  church  and 
asked  him  if  he  could  tell  him  whereabouts  in  hell  his 
wife  was.  In  fact,  I  am  in  a  worse  fix  than  my  Meth- 
odist friend ;  for  if  it  were  nothing  but  a  wife  that  was 
missing,  mine  would  be  sure  to  pop  up  serenely  some- 
where. That  Address  may  be  a  loss  to  more  than  one 
husband  in  this  country,  but  I  shall  be  the  greatest 

On  our  dark  journey  from  Harrisburg  to  Philadelphia 
the  lamps  of  the  car  were  not  lighted,  because  of  the 
secret  journey  we  were  making.  The  loss  of  the  Address 
and  the  search  for  it  was  the  subject  of  a  great  deal 
of  amusement.  Mr.  Lincoln  said  many  funny  things  in 
connection  with  the  incident.  One  of  them  was  that  he 
knew  a  fellow  once  who  had  saved  up  fifteen  hundred 
dollars,  and  had  placed  it  in  a  private  banking  establish- 
ment. The  bank  soon  failed,  and  he  afterward  received 
ten  per  cent  of  his  investment.  He  then  took  his  one 
hundred  and  fifty  dollars  and  deposited  it  in  a  savings 
bank,  where  he  was  sure  it  would  be  safe.  In  a  short 
time  this  bank  also  failed,  and  he  received  at  the  final 
settlement  ten  per  cent  on  the  amount  deposited. 
When  the  fifteen  dollars  was  paid  over  to  him,  he  held 
it  in  his  hand  and  looked  at  it  thoughtfully;  then  he 
said,  "  Now,  darn  yon,  I  have  got  you  reduced  to  a 
portable  shape,  so  I'll  put  you  in  my  pocket."  Suiting 
the  action  to  the  word,  Mr.  Lincoln  took  his  Address 
from  the  bag  and  carefully  placed  it  in  the  inside  pocket 
of  his  vest,  but  held  on  to  the  satchel  with  as  much 


interest  as  if  it  still  contained  his  "  certificate  of  moral 

While  Mr.  Lincoln,  in  the  midst  of  his  suite  of  attend- 
ants, was  being  borne  in  triumph  through  the  streets  of 
Philadelphia,  and  a  countless  multitude  of  people  were 
shouting  themselves  hoarse,  and  jostling  and  crushing 
each  other  round  his  carriage,  Mr.  Felton,  the  president 
of  the  Philadelphia,  Wilmington,  and  Baltimore  Railway, 
was  engaged  with  a  private  detective  discussing  the 
details  of  an  alleged  conspiracy  to  murder  him  at  Balti- 
more. At  various  places  along  the  route  Mr.  Judd,  who 
was  supposed  to  exercise  unbounded  influence  over  the 
new  President,  had  received  vague  hints  of  the  impending 

Mr.  Lincoln  reached  Philadelphia  on  the  afternoon  of 
the. 2 1 st.  The  detective  had  arrived  in  the  morning, 
and  improved  the  interval  to  impress  and  enlist  Mr. 
Felton.  In  the  evening  he  got  Mr.  Judd  and  Mr.  Felton 
into  his  room  at  the  St.  Louis  Hotel,  and  told  them  all 
he  had  learned.  Mr.  Judd  was  very  much  startled,  and 
was  sure  that  it  would  be  extremely  imprudent  for  Mr. 
Lincoln  to  pass  through  Baltimore  in  open  daylight, 
according  to  the  published  programme.  But  he  thought 
the  detective  ought  to  see  the  President  himself;  and,  as 
it  was  wearing  toward  nine  o'clock,  there  was  no  time  to 
lose.  It  was  agreed  that  the  part  taken  by  the  detective 
and  Mr.  Felton  should  be  kept  secret  from  every  one 
but  the  President.  Mr.  Sanford,  president  of  the  Ameri- 
can Telegraph  Company,  had  also  been  co-operating  in 


the  business,  and  the  same  stipulation  was  made  with 
regard  to  him. 

Mr.  Judd  went  to  his  own  room  at  the  Continental, 
and  the  detective  followed.  The  crowd  in  the  hotel  was 
very  dense,  and  it  took  some  time  to  get  a  message 
to  Mr.  Lincoln.  But  it  finally  reached  him,  and  he 
responded  in  person.  Mr.  Judd  introduced  the  detec- 
tive ;  and  the  latter  told  his  story  again.  Mr.  Judd  and 
the  detective  wanted  Mr.  Lincoln  to  leave  for  Washing- 
ton that  night.  This  he  flatly  refused  to  do.  He  had 
engagements  with  the  people,  he  said,  to  raise  a  flag 
over  Independence  Hall  in  the  morning,  and  to  exhibit 
himself  at  Harrisburg  in  the  afternoon,  —  and  these 
engagements  he  would  not  break  in  any  event.  But  he 
would  raise  the  flag,  go  to  Harrisburg,  get  away  quietly 
in  the  evening,  and  permit  himself  to  be  carried  to  Wash- 
ington in  the  way  they  thought  best.  Even  this,  however, 
he  conceded  with  great  reluctance.  He  condescended 
to  cross-examine  the  detective  on  some  parts  of  his  nar- 
rative ;  but  at  no  time  did  he  seem  in  the  least  degree 
alarmed.  He  was  earnestly  requested  not  to  commu- 
nicate the  change  of  plan  to  any  member  of  his  party 
except  Mr.  Judd,  nor  permit  even  a  suspicion  of  it  to 
cross  the  mind  of  another. 

In  the  mean  time,  Mr.  Seward  had  also  discovered 
the  conspiracy,  and  despatched  his  son  to  Philadelphia 
to  warn  the  President-elect  of  the  terrible  snare  into 
whose  meshes  he  was  about  to  run.  Mr.  Lincoln  turned 
him  over  to  Judd,  and  Judd  told  him  they  already  knew 


about  it.  He  went  away  with  just  enough  information 
to  enable  his  father  to  anticipate  the  exact  moment  of 
Mr.  Lincoln's  surreptitious  arrival  in  Washington. 

Early  on  the  morning  of  the  22d,  Mr.  Lincoln  raised 
the  flag  over  Independence  Hall,  and  departed  for  Har- 
risburg.  On  the  way,  Mr.  Judd  gave  him  a  full  and 
precise  detail  of  the  arrangements  that  had  been  made 
the  previous  night.  After  the  conference  with  the  de- 
tective, Mr.  Sanford,  Colonel  Scott,  Mr.  Felton,  and  the 
railroad  and  telegraph  officials  had  been  sent  for,  and 
came  to  Mr.  Judd's  room.  They  occupied  nearly  the 
whole  of  the  night  in  perfecting  the  plan.  It  was  finally 
agreed  that  about  six  o'clock  the  next  evening  Mr.  Lin- 
coln should  slip  away  from  the  Jones  Hotel  at  Harris- 
burg,  in  company  with  a  single  member  of  his  party. 
A  special  car  and  engine  was  to  be  provided  for  him  on 
the  track  outside  the  depot ;  all  other  trains  on  the  road 
were  to  be  "side-tracked"  until  this  one  had  passed. 
Mr.  Sanford  was  to  forward  skilled  "telegraph-climbers," 
and  see  that  all  the  wires  leading  out  of  Harrisburg  were 
cut  at  six  o'clock,  and  kept  down  until  it  was  known  that 
Mr.  Lincoln  had  reached  Washington  in  safety.  The 
detective  was  to  meet  Mr.  Lincoln  at  the  West  Philadel- 
phia Station  with  a  carriage,  and  conduct  him  by  a 
circuitous  route  to  the  Philadelphia,  Wilmington,  and 
Baltimore  Station.  Berths  for  four  were  to  be  pre-en- 
gaged in  the  sleeping-car  attached  to  the  regular  midnight 
train  for  Baltimore.  This  train  Mr.  Felton  was  to  cause 
to  be  detained  until  the  conductor  should  receive  a  pack- 


age,  containing  important  "government  despatches," 
addressed  to  "  E.  J.  Allen,  Willard's  Hotel,  Washington." 
This  package  was  to  be  made  up  of  old  newspapers, 
carefully  wrapped  and  sealed,  and  delivered  to  the  de- 
tective to  be  used  as  soon  as  Mr.  Lincoln  was  lodged 
in  the  car. 

Mr.  Lincoln  acquiesced  in  this  plan.  Then  Mr.  Judd, 
forgetting  the  secrecy  which  the  spy  had  so  impressively 
enjoined,  told  Mr.  Lincoln  that  the  step  he  was  about  to 
take  was  one  of  such  transcendent  importance  that  he 
thought  "  it  should  be  communicated  to  the  other  gen- 
tlemen of  the  party."  Therefore,  when  they  had  arrived 
at  Harrisburg,  and  the  public  ceremonies  and  speech- 
making  were  over,  Mr.  Lincoln  retired  to  a  private  par- 
lor in  the  Jones  House ;  and  Mr.  Judd  summoned  to 
meet  him  there  Judge  Davis,  Colonel  Sumner,  Major 
Hunter,  Captain  Pope,  and  myself.  Judd  began  the 
conference  by  stating  the  alleged  fact  of  the  Baltimore 
conspiracy,  how  it  was  detected,  and  how  it  was  pro- 
posed to  thwart  it  by  a  midnight  expedition  to  Washing- 
ton by  way  of  Philadelphia.  It  was  a  great  surprise  to 
all  of  us. 

Colonel  Sumner  was  the  first  to  break  the  silence. 
"That  proceeding,"  said  he,  "will  be  a  damned  piece  of 

Mr.  Judd  considered  this  a  "  pointed  hit,"  but  replied 
that  "  that  view  of  the  case  had  already  been  presented 
to  Mr.  Lincoln."  Then  there  was  a  general  interchange 
of  opinions,  which  Sumner  interrupted  by  saying,  — 


"  I  '11  get  a  squad  of  cavalry,  sir,  and  cut  our  way  to 
Washington,  sir !  " 

"Probably  before  that  day  comes,"  said  Mr.  Judd, 
"  the  inauguration  day  will  have  passed.  It  is  important 
that  Mr.  Lincoln  should  be  in  Washington  on  that  day." 

Thus  far  Judge  Davis  had  expressed  no  opinion,  but 
had  put  various  questions  to  test  the  truthfulness  of  the 
story.  He  now  turned  to  Mr.  Lincoln,  and  said,  "  You 
personally  heard  the  detective's  story.  You  have  heard 
this  discussion.  What  is  your  judgment  in  the  matter?  " 

"  I  have  thought  over  this  matter  considerably  since  I 
went  over  the  ground  with  the  detective  last  night.  The 
appearance  of  Mr.  Frederick  Seward  with  warning  from 
another  source  confirms  my  belief  in  the  detective's 
statement.  Unless  there  are  some  other  reasons  be- 
sides fear  of  ridicule,  I  am  disposed  to  carry  out  Judd's 

There  was  no  longer  any  dissent  as  to  the  plan  itself; 
but  one  question  still  remained  to  be  disposed  of.  Who 
should  accompany  the  President  on  his  perilous  ride? 
Mr.  Judd  again  took  the  lead,  declaring  that  he  and  Mr. 
Lincoln  had  previously  determined  that  but  one  man 
ought  to  go,  and  that  I  had  been  selected  as  the  proper 
person.  To  this  Sumner  violently  demurred.  "  /  have 
undertaken,"  he  exclaimed,  "  to  see  Mr.  Lincoln  to 
Washington !  " 

Mr.  Lincoln  was  dining  when  a  close  carriage  was 
brought  to  the  side  door  of  the  hotel.  He  was  called, 
hurried  to  his  room,  changed  his  coat  and  hat,  and 


passed  rapidly  through  the  hall  and  out  of  the  door. 
As  he  was  stepping  into  the  carriage,  it  became  manifest 
that  Sumner  was  determined  to  get  in  also.  "  Hurry 
with  him  !  "  whispered  Judd  to  me ;  and  at  the  same 
time,  placing  his  hand  on  Sumner's  shoulder,  he  said 
aloud,  "One  moment,  Colonel !  "  Sumner  turned  round, 
and  in  that  moment  the  carriage  drove  rapidly  away. 
"  A  madder  man,"  says  Mr.  Judd,  "  you  never  saw." 

We  got  on  board  the  car  without  discovery  or  mishap. 
Besides  ourselves,  there  was  no  one  in  or  about  the  car 
except  Mr.  Lewis,  general  superintendent  of  the  Penn- 
sylvania Central  Railroad,  and  Mr.  Franciscus,  superin- 
tendent of  the  division  over  which  we  were  about  to 
pass.  The  arrangements  for  the  special  train  were  made 
ostensibly  to  take  these  two  gentlemen  to  Philadelphia. 

At  ten  o'clock  we  reached  West  Philadelphia,  and 
were  met  by  the  detective  and  one  Mr.  Kenney,  an 
under-official  of  the  Philadelphia,  Wilmington,  and  Bal- 
timore Railroad,  from  whose  hands  the  "important  par- 
cel" was  to  be  delivered  to  the  conductor  of  the 
10.50  P.M.  train.  Mr.  Lincoln,  the  detective,  and 
myself  seated  ourselves  in  a  carriage  which  stood  in 
waiting;  and  Mr.  Kenney  sat  upon  the  box  with  the 
driver.  It  was  nearly  an  hour  before  the  Baltimore 
train  was  to  start ;  and  Mr.  Kenney  found  it  necessary 
to  consume  the  time  by  driving  northward  in  search  of 
some  imaginary  person. 

As  the  moment  for  the  departure  of  the  Baltimore 
train  drew  near,  the  carriage  paused  in  the  dark  shadows 


of  the  depot  building.  It  was  not  considered  prudent 
to  approach  the  entrance. 

We  were  directed  to  the  sleeping-car.  Mr.  Kenney 
ran  forward  and  delivered  the  "  important  package,"  and 
in  three  minutes  the  train  was  in  motion.  The  tickets 
for  the  whole  party  had  been  procured  by  George  R. 
Dunn,  an  express  agent,  who  had  selected  berths  in  the 
rear  of  the  car,  and  had  insisted  that  the  rear  door  of 
the  car  should  be  opened  on  the  plea  that  one  of  the 
party  was  an  invalid,  who  would  arrive  late,  and  did  not 
desire  to  be  carried  through  the  narrow  passage-way  of 
the  crowded  car.  Mr.  Lincoln  got  into  his  berth  imme- 
diately, the  curtains  were  carefully  closed,  and  the  rest 
of  the  party  waited  until  the  conductor  came  round, 
when  the  detective  handed  him  the  "sick  man's"  ticket. 
During  the  night  Mr.  Lincoln  indulged  in  a  joke  or  two, 
in  an  undertone ;  but  with  that  exception  the  two 
sections  occupied  by  us  were  perfectly  silent.  The 
detective  said  he  had  men  stationed  at  various  places 
along  the  road  to  let  him  know  if  all  was  right ;  and 
he  rose  and  went  to  the  platform  occasionally  to  observe 
their  signals,  returning  each  time  with  a  favorable  report. 

At  thirty  minutes  past  three  the  train  reached  Balti- 
more. One  of  the  spy's  assistants  came  on  board  and 
informed  him  in  a  whisper  that  "  all  was  right."  Mr. 
Lincoln  lay  still  in  his  berth ;  and  in  a  few  moments 
the  car  was  being  slowly  drawn  through  the  quiet  streets 
of  the  city  toward  what  was  called  the  Washington  depot. 
There  again  was  another  pause,  but  no  sound  more 


alarming  than  the  noise  of  shifting  cars  and  engines. 
The  passengers,  tucked  away  on  their  narrow  shelves, 
dozed  on  as  peacefully  as  if  Mr.  Lincoln  had  never  been 
born,  until  they  were  awakened  by  the  loud  strokes  of  a 
huge  club  against  a  night-watchman's  box,  which  stood 
within  the  depot  and  close  to  the  track.  It  was  an  Irish- 
man, trying  to  arouse  a  sleepy  ticket-agent  comfortably 
ensconced  within.  For  twenty  minutes  the  Irishman 
pounded  the  box  with  ever-increasing  vigor,  and  at  each 
blow  shouted  at  the  top  of  his  voice,  "  Captain !  it 's 
four  o'clock  !  it's  four  o'clock  !  "  The  Irishman  seemed 
to  think  that  time  had  ceased  to  run  at  four  o'clock,  and 
making  no  allowance  for  the  period  consumed  by  his 
futile  exercises,  repeated  to  the  last  his  original  state- 
ment that  it  was  four  o'clock.  The  passengers  were 
intensely  amused;  and  their  jokes  and  laughter  at  the 
Irishman's  expense  were  not  lost  upon  the  occupants  of 
the  two  sections  in  the  rear. 

In  due  time  the  train  sped  out  of  the  suburbs  of 
Baltimore,  and  the  apprehensions  of  the  President  and 
his  friends  diminished  with  each  welcome  revolution  of 
the  wheels.  At  six  o'clock  the  dome  of  the  Capitol 
came  in  sight,  and  a  moment  later  we  rolled  into  that 
long,  unsightly  building,  the  Washington  depot.  We 
passed  out  of  the  car  unobserved,  and  pushed  along 
with  the  living  stream  of  men  and  women  toward  the 
outer  door.  One  man  alone  in  the  great  crowd  seemed 
to  watch  Mr.  Lincoln  with  special  attention.  Standing 
a  little  to  one  side,  he  looked  very  sharply  at  him,  and, 


as  he  passed,  seized  hold  of  his  hand,  and  said  in  a  loud 
tone  of  voice,  "Abe,  you  can't  play  that  on  me  !  "  We 
were  instantly  alarmed,  and  would  have  struck  the  stranger 
had  not  Mr.  Lincoln  hastily  said,  "  Don't  strike  him  ! 
It  is  Washburne.  Don't  you  know  him?  "  Mr.  Seward 
had  given  to  Mr.  Washburne  a  hint  of  the  information 
received  through  his  son ;  and  Mr.  Washburne  knew  its 
value  as  well  as  another. 

The  detective  admonished  Washburne  to  keep  quiet 
for  the  present,  and  we  passed  on  together.  Taking  a 
hack,  we  drove  toward  Willard's  Hotel.  Mr.  Lincoln, 
Mr.  Washburne,  and  the  detective  got  out  in  the  street, 
and  approached  the  ladies'  entrance,  while  I  drove  on 
to  the  main  entrance,  and  sent  the  proprietor  to  meet 
his  distinguished  guest  at  the  side  door.  A  few  minutes 
later  Mr.  Seward  arrived,  and  was  introduced  to  the 
company  by  Mr.  Washburne.  He  spoke  in  very  strong 
terms  of  the  great  danger  which  Mr.  Lincoln  had  so 
narrowly  escaped,  and  most  heartily  applauded  the  wis- 
dom of  the  "  secret  passage." 

It  now  soon  became  apparent  that  Mr.  Lincoln  wished 
to  be  left  alone.  He  said  he  was  "  rather  tired ;  "  and, 
upon  this  intimation,  the  party  separated.  The  detec- 
tive went  to  the  telegraph-office  and  loaded  the  wires 
with  despatches  in  cipher,  containing  the  pleasing  in- 
telligence that  "  Plums  "  had  brought  "  Nuts  "  through 
in  safety. 

Mr.  Lincoln  soon  learned  to  regret  the  midnight  ride 
to  which  he  had  yielded  under  protest.  He  was  con- 


vinced  that  he  had  committed  a  grave  mistake  in  listen- 
ing to  the  solicitations  of  a  professional  spy  and  of 
friends  too  easily  alarmed,  and  frequently  upbraided  me 
for  having  aided  him  to  degrade  himself  at  the  very 
moment  in  all  his  life  when  his  behavior  should  have 
exhibited  the  utmost  dignity  and  composure.  Neither 
he  nor  the  country  generally  then  understood  the  true 
facts  concerning  the  dangers  to  his  life.  It  is  now  an 
acknowledged  fact  that  there  never  was  a  moment  from 
the  day  he  crossed  the  Maryland  line,  up  to  the  time  of 
his  assassination,  that  he  was  not  in  danger  of  death  by 
violence,  and  that  his  life  was  spared  until  the  night  of 
the  1 4th  of  April,  1865,  only  through  the  ceaseless  and 
watchful  care  of  the  guards  thrown  around  him. 



IF  before  leaving  Springfield  Mr.  Lincoln  had  become 
weary  of  the  pressure  upon  him  for  office,  he  found 
no  respite  on  his  arrival  at  the  focus  of  political  intrigue 
and  corruption.  The  time  intervening  between  his 
arrival  at  Washington  and  his  Inauguration  was,  for  the 
most  part,  employed  in  giving  consideration  to  his  In- 
augural Address,  the  formation  of  his  Cabinet,  and  the 
conventional  duties  required  by  his  elevated  position. 

The  question  of  the  new  Administration's  policy 
absorbed  nearly  every  other  consideration.  To  get  a 
Cabinet  that  would  work  harmoniously  in  carrying  out 
the  policy  determined  on  by  Mr.  Lincoln  was  very 
difficult.  He  was  pretty  well  determined  on  the  con- 
struction of  his  Cabinet  before  he  reached  Washington ; 
but  in  the  minds  of  the  public,  beyond  the  generally 
accepted  fact  that  Mr.  Seward  was  to  be  the  Premier 
of  the  new  Administration,  all  was  speculation  and  con- 
jecture. All  grades  of  opinion  were  advanced  for  his  con- 
sideration :  conciliation  was  strongly  urged ;  a  vigorous 
war  policy ;  a  policy  of  quiescent  neutrality  recommend- 
ing delay  of  demonstrative  action  for  or  against  war,  — 
and  all,  or  nearly  all  these  suggestions  were  prompted 

IN  A  UG  URA  TION.  49 

by  the  most  unselfish  and  patriotic  motives.  He  was  com- 
pelled to  give  a  patient  ear  to  these  representations,  and 
to  hold  his  decisions  till  the  last  moment,  in  order  that 
he  might  decide  with  a  full  view  of  the  requirements  of 
public  policy  and  party  fealty.4 

As  late  as  the  second  of  March  a  large  and  respectable 
delegation  of  persons  visited  Mr.  Lincoln  to  bring  matters 
to  a  conclusion.  Their  object  was  to  prevent  at  all 
hazards  the  appointment  of  Mr.  Chase  in  the  Cabinet. 
They  were  received  civilly  and  treated  courteously. 
The  President  listened  to  them  with  great  patience. 
They  were  unanimous  in  their  opposition  to  Mr.  Chase. 
Mr.  Seward's  appointment,  they  urged,  was  absolutely 
and  indispensably  required  to  secure  for  the  Administra- 
tion either  the  support  of  the  North  or  a  respectful 
hearing  at  the  South.  They  portrayed  the  danger  of 
putting  into  the  Cabinet  a  man  like  Mr.  Chase,  who  was 
BO  notoriously  identified  with  and  supported  by  men  who 
did  not  desire  the  perpetuation  of  the  Union.  They 
strongly  insisted  that  Mr.  Chase  would  be  an  unsafe  coun- 
sellor, and  that  he  and  his  supporters  favored  a  Northern 
republic,  extending  from  the  Ohio  River  to  Canada, 
rather  than  the  Union  which  our  fathers  had  founded. 
They  urged  another  argument,  which  to  them  seemed 
of  vital  importance  and  conclusive,  —  that  it  would  not 
be  possible  for  Mr.  Seward  to  sit  in  the  Cabinet  with 
Mr.  Chase  as  a  member.  To  think  of  it  was  revolting 
to  him,  and  neither  he  nor  his  State  could  or  would 
tolerate  it. 



These  arguments,  so  earnestly  put  forth,  distressed 
Mr.  Lincoln  greatly.  At  length,  after  a  long  pause,  he 
replied  that  it  was  very  difficult  to  reconcile  conflicting 
claims  and  interests ;  that  his  greatest  desire  was  to  form 
an  Administration  that  would  command  the  confidence 
and  respect  of  the  country,  and  of  the  party  which  had 
placed  him  in  power.  He  spoke  of  his  high  regard  for 
Mr.  Seward,  of  his  eminent  services,  his  great  genius, 
and  the  respect  in  which  he  was  held  by  the  country. 
He  said  Mr.  Chase  had  also  great  claims  that  no  one 
could  gainsay.  His  claims  were,  perhaps,  not  so  great 
as  Mr.  Seward's ;  but  this  he  would  not  then  discuss : 
the  party  and  the  country  wanted  the  hearty  and  har- 
monious co-operation  of  all  good  men  without  regard  to 

Then  there  was  an  ominous  pause.  Mr.  Lincoln  went 
to  a  drawer  and  took  out  a  paper,  saying, "  I  had  written 
out  my  choice  and  selection  of  members  for  the  Cabinet 
after  most  careful  and  deliberate  consideration ;  and  now 
you  are  here  to  tell  me  I  must  break  the  slate  and  begin 
the  thing  all  over  again."  He  admitted  that  he  had 
sometimes  apprehended  that  it  might  be  as  they  had 
suggested,  —  that  he  might  be  forced  to  reconsider  what 
he  regarded  as  his  judicious  conclusions ;  and  in  view  of 
this  possibility  he  had  constructed  an  alternative  list  of 
members.  He  did  not  like  the  alternative  list  so  well 
as  the  original.  He  had  hoped  to  have  Mr.  Seward  as 
Secretary  of  State  and  Mr.  Chase  his  Secretary  of  Trea- 
sury. He  expressed  his  regrets  that  he  could  not  be 

IN  A  UG  URA  TION.  5 1 

gratified  in  this  desire,  and  added  that  he  could  not 
reasonably  expect  to  have  things  just  as  he  wanted  them- 
Silence  prevailed  for  some  time,  and  he  then  added : 
"This  being  the  case,  gentlemen,  how  would  it  do  for 
us  to  agree  upon  a  change  like  this?  To  appoint  Mr. 
Chase  Secretary  of  the  Treasury,  and  offer  the  State 
Department  to  Mr.  William  L.  Dayton,  of  New  Jersey?" 

The  delegation  was  shocked,  disappointed,  outraged. 
Mr.  Lincoln,  continuing  in  the  same  phlegmatic  manner, 
again  referred  to  his  high  appreciation  of  the  abilities  of 
Mr.  Seward.  He  said  Mr.  Dayton  was  an  old  Whig, 
like  Mr.  Seward  and  himself,  and  that  he  was  from  New 
Jersey,  and  was  "  next  door  to  New  York."  Mr.  Seward, 
he  added,  could  go  as  Minister  to  England,  where  his 
genius  would  find  wonderful  scope  in  keeping  Europe 
straight  about  our  home  troubles.  The  delegation  was 
nonplussed.  They,  however,  saw  and  accepted  the 
inevitable.  For  the  first  time  they  realized  that  indomi- 
table will  of  the  President-elect  which  afterward  became 
so  notable  throughout  the  trying  times  of  his  Administra- 
tion. They  saw  that  "the  mountain  would  not  come 
to  Mahomet,  with  the  conditions  imposed,  and  so 
Mahomet  had  to  go  to  the  mountain."  The  difficulty 
was  accommodated  by  Mr.  Seward  coming  into  the 
Cabinet  with  Mr.  Chase,  and  the  Administrative  or- 
ganization was  effected  to  Mr.  Lincoln's  satisfaction. 

Mr.  Seward  was  a  Republican  with  centralizing  ten- 
dencies, and  had  been  a  prominent  and  powerful  mem- 
ber of  the  old  Whig  party,  which  had  gone  into  decay. 


Mr.  Chase  was  a  State's  Rights  Federal  Republican,  not 
having  been  strictly  attached  to  either  the  Whig  or 
the  Democratic  organization ;  he  had  for  years  been  a 
conspicuous  leader  of  the  Antislavery  party,  which  had 
risen  on  the  ruins  of  the  Whig  party,  while  Mr.  Seward 
had  cautiously  abstained  from  any  connection  with  the 
Antislavery  party  per  se.  Mr.  Lincoln  adopted,  whether 
consciously  or  unconsciously,  the  policy  of  Washington 
in  bringing  men  of  opposite  principles  into  his  Cabinet, 
as  far  as  he  could  do  so,  hoping  that  they  would 
harmonize  in  administrative  measures ;  and  in  doing 
this  in  the  case  of  Mr.  Seward  and  Mr.  Chase  he 
entirely  reversed  the  original  arrangement,  —  by  giving 
Mr.  Seward,  a  Republican  centralist,  the  post  of  Jeffer- 
son, a  State's  Rights  Federal  Republican ;  and  to 
Mr.  Chase,  a  Federal  Republican,  the  post  assigned  to 
Hamilton,  a  centralist. 

There  was  a  prevailing  opinion  among  a  great  many 
politicians  that  Mr.  Seward  had  an  overpowering  influ- 
ence with  Mr.  Lincoln ;  and  the  belief  was  general  that 
he,  in  whose  ability  and  moderation  the  conservative 
people  at  the  North  seemed  to  have  the  most  confi- 
dence, would  be  the  real  head  of  the  Administration. 
This  supposition  was  a  great  mistake.  It  underrated  the 
man  who  had  been  elected  to  wield  the  helm  of  govern- 
ment in  the  troubled  waters  of  the  brewing  storm.  Mr. 
Lincoln  was  as  self-reliant  a  man  as  ever  breathed  the 
atmosphere  of  patriotism.  Up  to  the  2d  of  March,  Mr. 
Seward  had  no  intimation  of  the  purport  of  the  Inaugural 

INA  UG  URA  TION.  5  3 

Address.  The  conclusion  was  inevitable  that  if  he  was 
to  be  at  the  head  of  the  Administration,  he  would  not 
have  been  left  so  long  in  the  dark  as  to  the  first  act  of 
Mr.  Lincoln's  official  life.  When  the  last  faint  hope  was 
destroyed  that  Mr.  Seward  was  virtually  to  be  President, 
the  outlook  of  the  country  seemed  to  these  politicians 

The  4th  of  March  at  last  arrived.  Mr.  Lincoln's 
feelings,  as  the  hour  approached  which  was  to  invest  him 
with  greater  responsibilities  than  had  fallen  upon  any  of 
his  predecessors,  may  readily  be  imagined.  If  he  saw  in 
his  elevation  another  step  toward  the  fulfilment  of  that 
destiny  which  he  at  times  believed  awaited  him,  the 
thought  served  but  to  tinge  with  a  peculiar,  almost 
poetic,  sadness  the  manner  in  which  he  addressed 
himself  to  the  solemn  duties  of  the  hour. 

There  were  apprehensions  of  danger  to  Mr.  Lincoln's 
person,  and  extensive  preparations  were  made  for  his 
protection,  under  the  direction  of  Lieutenant-General 
Scott.  The  carriage  in  which  the  President-elect  rode 
to  the  Capitol  was  closely  guarded  by  marshals  and 
cavalry,  selected  with  care  from  the  most  loyal  and 
efficient  companies  of  the  veteran  troops  and  marines. 
Mr.  Lincoln  appeared  as  usual,  composed  and  thought- 
ful, apparently  unmoved  and  indifferent  to  the  excite- 
ment around  him.  On  arriving  at  the  platform,  he  was 
introduced  to  the  vast  audience  awaiting  his  appearance 
by  Senator  Baker,  of  Oregon.  Stepping  forward,  in  a 
manner  deliberate  and  impressive,  the  President-elect 


delivered  in  a  clear,  penetrating  voice  his  Inaugural 
Address,  closing  this  remarkable  production  with  the 
words,  which  so  forcibly  exemplified  his  character  and 
so  clearly  indicated  his  goodness  of  heart :  "  I  am  loath 
to  close.  We  are  not  enemies,  but  friends.  We  must 
not  be  enemies.  Though  passion  may  have  strained,  it 
must  not  break,  our  bonds  of  affection.  The  mystic 
chords  of  memory,  stretching  from  every  battle-field  and 
patriot  grave  to  every  living  heart  and  hearthstone  all 
over  this  broad  land,  will  yet  swell  the  chorus  of  the 
Union  when  again  touched,  as  surely  they  will  be,  by  the 
better  angels  of  our  nature." 

The  immense  audience  present  was  deeply  impressed, 
and  with  awe  viewed  the  momentous  character  of  the 
occasion  they  were  given  to  contemplate.  The  Address 
produced  comparatively  little  applause  and  no  mani- 
festations of  disapprobation.  All  were  moved  with  a 
profound  anxiety  concerning  their  own  respective  States 
and  the  future  of  their  country;  and  the  sentiments 
they  had  just  heard  uttered  from  the  Chief  Executive 
foreshadowed  the  storm  awaiting  the  nation. 

After  the  oath  of  office  was  administered  to  him  by 
the  venerable  Chief-Justice  of  the  United  States,  Judge 
Roger  B.  Taney,  Mr.  Lincoln  was  escorted  to  the  Presi- 
dential Mansion  in  the  same  order  that  was  observed 
in  going  to  the  Capitol,  amid  the  firing  of  cannon 
and  the  sound  of  music.  Mr.  Buchanan  accompanied 
him,  and  in  taking  his  leave  expressed  his  wish  and 
hope,  in  earnest  and  befitting  language,  that  Mr.  Lin- 

JNA  UG  URA  TION.  5  5 

coin's  Administration  of  the  government  would  be  a 
happy  and  prosperous  one. 

The  Inauguration  over,  every  one  seemed  to  have  a 
sense  of  relief :  there  had  been  no  accident,  no  demonstra- 
tion which  could  be  construed  as  portending  disturbance. 

The  New  York  delegation,  on  the  night  of  the  Inau- 
guration, paid  their  respects  to  the  President.  He  said 
to  them  that  he  was  rejoiced  to  see  the  good  feeling 
manifested  by  them,  and  hoped  that  our  friends  of  the 
South  would  be  satisfied,  when  they  read  his  Inaugural 
Address,  that  he  had  made  it  as  nearly  right  as  it  was 
possible  for  him  to  make  it  in  accordance  with  the 
Constitution,  which  he  thought  was  as  good  for  the 
people  who  lived  south  of  the  Mason  and  Dixon  line 
as  for  those  who  lived  north  of  it. 



AFTER  the  first  shout  of  triumph  and  the  first  glow 
of  exultation  consequent  on  his  Inauguration,  Mr. 
Lincoln  soon  began  to  realize  with  dismay  what  was 
before  him.  Geographical  lines  were  at  last  distinctly 
drawn.  He  was  regarded  as  a  sectional  representative, 
elected  President  with  most  overwhelming  majorities 
north  of  Mason  and  Dixon's  line,  and  not  a  single  elec- 
toral vote  south  of  it.  He  saw  a  great  people,  compris- 
ing many  millions  and  inhabiting  a  vast  region  of  our 
common  country,  exasperated  by  calumny,  stung  by 
defeat,  and  alarmed  by  the  threats  of  furious  fanatics 
whom  demagogues  held  up  to  them  as  the  real  and 
only  leaders  of  the  triumphant  party.  His  election  had 
brought  the  nation  face  to  face  with  the  perils  that  had 
been  feared  by  every  rank  and  party  since  the  dawn  of 
Independence,  —  with  the  very  contingency,  the  crisis  in 
which  all  venerable  authority  had  declared  from  the 
beginning  that  the  Union  would  surely  perish,  and  the 
fragments,  after  exhausting  each  other  by  commercial 
restrictions  and  disastrous  wars,  would  find  ignominious 
safety  in  as  many  paltry  despotisms  as  there  were 


On  the  3d  of  March,  1861,  the  Thirty-sixth  Congress 
had  reached  the  prescribed  period  of  its  existence,  and 
had  died  a  constitutional  death.  Its  last  session  of 
three  months  had  been  spent  in  full  view  of  an  awful 
public  calamity,  which  it  had  made  no  effort  to  avert  or 
to  mitigate.  It  saw  the  nation  compassed  round  with  a 
frightful  danger,  but  it  proposed  no  plan  either  of  con- 
ciliation or  defence.  It  adjourned  forever,  and  left  the 
law  precisely  as  it  found  it. 

In  his  message  to  Congress,  President  Buchanan  had 
said  :  "  Congress  alone  has  power  to  decide  whether  the 
present  laws  can  or  cannot  be  amended  so  as  to  carry 
out  more  effectually  the  objects  of  the  Constitution." 
With  Congress  rested  the  whole  responsibility  of  peace 
or  war,  and  with  them  the  message  left  it.  But  Congress 
behaved  like  a  body  of  men  who  thought  that  the  calami- 
ties of  the  nation  were  no  special  business  of  theirs. 
The  members  from  the  extreme  South  were  watching  for 
the  proper  moment  to  retire;  those  from  the  middle 
slave  States  were  a  minority  which  could  only  stand  and 
wait  upon  the  movements  of  others ;  while  the  great  and 
all-powerful  Northern  party  was  what  the  French  minis- 
ter called  "a  mere  aggregation  of  individual  ambitions." 
They  had  always  denied  the  possibility  of  a  dissolution 
of  the  Union  in  any  conjuncture  of  circumstances ;  and 
their  habit  of  disregarding  the  evidence  was  too  strong 
to  be  suddenly  changed.  In  the  philosophy  of  their 
politics  it  had  not  been  dreamed  of  as  a  possible  thing. 
Even  when  they  saw  it  assume  the  shape  of  a  fixed  and 


terrible  fact,  they  could  not  comprehend  its  meaning. 
They  looked  at  the  frightful  phenomenon  as  a  crowd  of 
barbarians  might  look  at  an  eclipse  of  the  sun  :  they  saw 
the  light  of  heaven  extinguished  and  the  earth  covered 
with  strange  and  unaccountable  darkness,  but  they  could 
neither  understand  its  cause  nor  foresee  its  end,  —  they 
knew  neither  whence  it  came  nor  what  it  portended. 
The  nation  was  going  to  pieces,  and  Congress  left  it  to 
its  fate.  The  vessel,  freighted  with  all  the  hopes  and  all 
the  wealth  of  thirty  millions  of  free  people  was  drifting 
to  her  doom,  and  they  who  alone  had  power  to  control 
her  course  refused  to  lay  a  finger  on  the  helm. 

Only  a  few  days  before  the  convening  of  this  Con- 
gress the  following  letter  was  written  by  Hon.  Joseph 
Holt,  Postmaster-General,  afterward  Secretary  of  War, 

under  Buchanan :  — 

WASHINGTON,  Nov.  30,  1860. 

MY  DEAR  SIR, —  I  am  in  receipt  of  yours  of  the  27th 
inst.,  and  thank  you  for  your  kindly  allusion  to  myself,  in 
connection  with  the  fearful  agitation  which  now  threatens 
the  dismemberment  of  our  government.  I  think  the  Presi- 
dent's message  will  meet  your  approbation,  but  I  little  hope 
that  it  will  accomplish  anything  in  moderating  the  madness 
that  rules  the  hour.  The  indications  are  that  the  movement 
has  passed  beyond  the  reach  of  human  control.  God  alone 
can  disarm  the  cloud  of  its  lightnings.  South  Carolina  will 
be  out  of  the  Union,  and  in  the  armed  assertion  of  a  distinct 
nationality  probably  before  Christmas.  This  is  certain,  un- 
less the  course  of  events  is  arrested  by  prompt  and  decided 
action  on  the  part  of  the  people  and  Legislatures  of  the 
Northern  States ;  the  other  slave  States  will  follow  South 
Carolina  in  a  few  weeks  or  months.  The  border  States, 


now  so  devoted  to  the  Union,  will  linger  a  little  while;  but 
they  will  soon  unite  their  fortunes  with  those  of  their  South- 
ern sisters.  Conservative  men  have  now  no  ground  to  stand 
upon,  no  weapon  to  battle  with.  All  has  been  swept  from 
them  by  the  guilty  agitations  and  infamous  legislation  of  the 
North.  I  do  not  anticipate,  with  any  confidence,  that  the 
North  will  act  up  to  the  solemn  responsibilities  of  the 
crisis,  by  retracing  those  fatal  steps  which  have  conducted 
us  to  the  very  brink  of  perdition,  politically,  morally,  and 

There  is  a  feeling  growing  in  the  free  States  which  says, 
"  Let  the  South  go ! "  and  this  feeling  threatens  rapidly  to 
increase.  It  is,  in  part,  the  fruit  of  complete  estrangement, 
and  in  part  a  weariness  of  this  perpetual  conflict  between 
North  and  South,  which  has  now  lasted,  with  increasing 
bitterness,  for  the  last  thirty  years.  The  country  wants 
repose,  and  is  willing  to  purchase  it  at  any  sacrifice.  Alas 
for  the  delusion  of  the  belief  that  repose  will  follow  the  over- 
throw of  the  government ! 

I  doubt  not,  from  the  temper  of  the  public  mind,  that  the 
Southern  States  will  be  allowed  to  withdraw  peacefully ; 
but  when  the  work  of  dismemberment  begins,  we  shall  break 
up  the  fragments  from  month  to  month,  with  the  nonchalance 
with  which  we  break  the  bread  upon  our  breakfast-table.  If 
all  the  grave  and  vital  questions  which  will  at  once  arise 
among  these  fragments  of  the  ruptured  Republic  can  be 
adjusted  without  resort  to  arms,  then  we  have  made  vast 
progress  since  the  history  of  our  race  was  written.  But  the 
tragic  events  of  the  hour  will  show  that  we  have  made  no 
progress  at  all.  We  shall  soon  grow  up  a  race  of  chieftains, 
who  will  rival  the  political  bandits  of  South  America  and 
Mexico,  and  who  will  carve  out  to  us  our  miserable  heritage 
with  their  bloody  swords.  The  masses  of  the  people  dream 
not  of  these  things.  They  suppose  the  Republic  can  be 
destroyed  to-day,  and  that  peace  will  smile  over  its  ruins 


to-morrow.  They  know  nothing  of  civil  war:  this  Marah  in 
the  pilgrimage  of  nations  has  happily  been  for  them  a  sealed 
fountain ;  they  know  not,  as  others  do,  of  its  bitterness,  and 
that  civil  war  is  a  scourge  that  darkens  every  fireside,  and 
wrings  every  heart  with  anguish.  They  are  to  be  commiser- 
ated, for  they  know  not  what  to  do.  Whence  is  all  this? 
It  has  come  because  the  pulpit  and  press  and  the  cowering, 
unscrupulous  politicians  of  the  North  have  taught  the  people 
that  they  are  responsible  for  the  domestic  institutions  of  the 
South,  and  that  they  have  been  faithful  to  God  only  by  being 
unfaithful  to  the  compact  which  they  have  made  to  their 
fellow-men.  Hence  those  Liberty  Bills  which  degrade  the 
statute-books  of  some  ten  of  the  free  States,  and  are  con- 
fessedly a  shameless  violation  of  the  federal  Constitution  in 
a  point  vital  to  her  honor.  We  have  presented,  from  year  to 
year,  the  humiliating  spectacle  of  free  and  sovereign  States, 
by  a  solemn  act  of  legislation,  legalizing  the  theft  of  their 
neighbors'  property.  I  say  theft,  since  it  is  not  the  less  so 
because  the  subject  of  the  despicable  crime  chances  to  be  a 
slave,  instead  of  a  horse  or  bale  of  goods. 

From  this  same  teaching  has  come  the  perpetual  agitation 
of  the  slavery  question,  which  has  reached  the  minds  of  the 
slave  population  of  the  South,  and  has  rendered  every  home 
in  that  distracted  land  insecure.  This  is  the  feature  of  the 
irrepressible  conflict  with  which  the  Northern  people  are  not 
familiar.  In  almost  every  part  of  the  South  miscreant 
fanatics  have  been  found,  and  poisonings  and  conflagrations 
have  marked  their  footsteps.  Mothers  there  lie  down  at 
night  trembling  beside  their  children,  and  wives  cling  to 
their  husbands  as  they  leave  their  homes  in  the  morning.  I 
have  a  brother  residing  in  Mississippi,  who  is  a  lawyer  by 
profession,  and  a  cotton  planter,  but  has  never  had  any  con- 
nection with  politics.  Knowing  the  calm  and  conservative 
tone  of  his  character,  I  wrote  him  a  few  weeks  since,  and 
implored  him  to  exert  his  influence  in  allaying  the  frenzy  of 


the  popular  mind  around  him.  He  has  replied  to  me  at 
much  length,  and  after  depicting  the  machinations  of  the 
wretches  to  whom  I  have  alluded,  and  the  consternation 
which  reigns  in  the  homes  of  the  South,  he  says  it  is  the 
unalterable  determination  of  the  Southern  people  to  over- 
throw the  government  as  the  only  refuge  which  is  left  to 
them  from  these  insupportable  wrongs ;  and  he  adds :  "  On 
the  success  of  this  movement  depends  my  every  interest,  — 
the  safety  of  my  roof  from  the  firebrand,  and  of  my  wife  and 
children  from  the  poison  and  the  dagger." 

I  give  you  his  language  because  it  truthfully  expresses  the 
Southern  mind  which  at  this  moment  glows  as  a  furnace  in 
its  hatred  to  the  North  because  of  these  infernal  agitations. 
Think  you  that  any  people  can  endure  this  condition  of 
things  ?  When  the  Northern  preacher  infuses  into  his  audi- 
ence the  spirit  of  assassins  and  incendiaries  in  his  crusade 
against  slavery,  does  he  think,  as  he  lies  down  quietly  at 
night,  of  the  Southern  homes  he  has  robbed  of  sleep,  and  the 
helpless  women  and  children  he  has  exposed  to  all  the  name- 
less horrors  of  servile  insurrections  ? 

I  am  still  for  the  Union,  because  I  have  yet  a  faint,  hesi- 
tating hope  that  the  North  will  do  justice  to  the  South,  and 
save  the  Republic,  before  the  wreck  is  complete.  But  action, 
to  be  available,  must  be  prompt.  If  the  free  States  will 
sweep  the  Liberty  Bills  from  their  codes,  propose  a  conven- 
tion of  the  States,  and  offer  guaranties  which  will  afford  the 
same  repose  and  safety  to  Southern  homes  and  property 
enjoyed  by  those  of  the  North,  the  impending  tragedy  may 
be  averted,  but  not  otherwise.  I  feel  a  positive  personal 
humiliation  as  a  member  of  the  human  family  in  the  events 
now  preparing.  If  the  Republic  is  to  be  offered  as  a  sacri- 
fice upon  the  altar  of  American  servitude,  then  the  question 
of  man's  capacity  for  self-government  is  forever  settled. 
The  derision  of  the  world  will  henceforth  justly  treat  the  pre- 
tension as  a  farce ;  and  the  blessed  hope  which  for  five 


thousand  years  our  race,  amid  storms  and  battles,  has  been 
hugging  to  its  bosom,  will  be  demonstrated  to  be  a  phantom 
and  a  dream. 

Pardon  these  hurried  and  disjointed  words.  They  have 
been  pressed  out  of  my  heart  by  the  sorrows  that  are  weigh- 
ing upon  it. 

Sincerely  your  friend, 

J.  HOLT. 

Within  forty-eight  hours  after  the  election  of  Mr. 
Lincoln,  the  Legislature  of  South  Carolina  called  a  State 
Convention.  It  met  on  the  xyth  of  December,  and 
three  days  later  the  inevitable  ordinance  of  secession 
was  formally  adopted,  and  the  little  commonwealth  be- 
gan to  act  under  the  erroneous  impression  that  she  was 
a  sovereign  and  independent  nation.  She  benignantly 
accepted  the  postal  service  of  the  "  late  United  States  of 
America,"  and  even  permitted  the  gold  and  silver  coins 
of  the  federal  government  to  circulate  within  her  sacred 
limits.  But  intelligence  from  the  rest  of  the  country  was 
published  in  her  newspapers  under  the  head  of  "  foreign 
news;"  her  governor  appointed  a  "cabinet,"  commis- 
sioned "  ambassadors,"  and  practised  so  many  fantastic 
imitations  of  greatness  and  power,  that,  but  for  the 
serious  purpose  and  the  bloody  event,  his  proceedings 
would  have  been  very  amusing.  It  was  a  curious  little 
comedy  between  the  acts  of  a  hideous  tragedy. 

In  the  practice  which  provoked  the  fury  of  his  North- 
ern countrymen,  the  slaveholder  could  see  nothing  but 
what  was  right  in  the  sight  of  God,  and  just  as  between 
man  and  man.  Slavery,  he  said,  was  as  old  almost  as 


time.  From  the  hour  of  deliverance  to  the  day  of 
dispersion,  it  had  been  practised  by  the  peculiar  people 
of  God,  with  the  awful  sanction  of  a  theocratic  State. 
When  the  Saviour  came  with  his  fan  in  his  hand,  he  not 
only  spared  it  from  all  rebuke,  but  recognized  and  regu- 
lated it  as  an  institution  in  which  he  found  no  evil.  The 
Church  had  bowed  to  the  authority  and  emulated  the 
example  of  the  Master.  With  her  aid  and  countenance, 
slavery  had  flourished  in  every  age  and  country  since  the 
Christian  era;  in  new  lands  she  planted  it,  in  the  old 
she  upheld  and  encouraged  it.  Even  the  modest  of  the 
sectaries  had  bought  and  sold,  without  a  shade  of  doubt 
or  a  twinge  of  conscience,  the  bondmen  who  fell  to  their 
lot,  until  the  stock  was  exhausted  or  the  trade  became 
unprofitable.  To  this  rule  the  Puritans  and  Quakers 
were  no  exceptions.  Indeed,  it  was  but  a  few  years 
since  slavery  in  Massachusetts  had  been  suffered  to  die 
of  its  own  accord,  and  the  profits  of  the  slave-trade  were 
still  to  be  seen  in  the  stately  mansions  and  pleasant 
gardens  of  her  maritime  towns. 

The  Southern  man  could  see  no  reason  of  State,  of 
law,  or  of  religion  which  required  him  to  yield  his  most 
ancient  rights  and  his  most  valuable  property  to  the 
new-born  zeal  of  adversaries  whom  he  more  than  sus- 
pected of  being  actuated  by  mere  malignity  under  the 
guise  of  philanthropy.  All  that  he  knew  or  had  ever 
known  of  the  policy  of  the  State,  of  religion,  or  of  law 
was  on  the  side  of  slavery.  It  was  his  inheritance  in  the 
land  descended  from  his  remotest  ancestry;  recorded 


in  the  deeds  and  written  in  the  wills  of  his  nearest 
kindred ;  interwoven  more  or  less  intimately  with  every 
tradition  and  every  precious  memory;  the  basis  of 
public  economy  and  of  private  prosperity,  fostered  by 
the  maternal  care  of  Great  Britain,  and,  unlike  any 
other  domestic  institution,  solemnly  protected  by  sep- 
arate and  distinct  provisions  in  the  fundamental  law  of 
the  federal  Union.  It  was,  therefore,  as  much  a  part 
of  his  religion  to  cherish  and  defend  it  as  it  was  part  of 
the  religion  of  an  Abolitionist  to  denounce  and  assail 
it.  To  him,  at  least,  it  was  still  pure  and  of  good  report ; 
he  held  it  as  sacred  as  marriage,  as  sacred  as  the  rela- 
tion of  parent  and  child.  Forcible  abolition  was  in  his 
eyes  as  lawless  and  cruel  as  arbitrary  divorce,  or  the 
violent  abduction  of  his  offspring ;  it  bereft  his  fireside, 
broke  up  his  family,  set  his  own  household  in  arms 
against  him,  and  deluded  to  their  ruin  those  whom  the 
Lord  had  given  into  his  hand  for  a  wise  and  beneficent 
purpose.  He  saw  in  the  extinction  of  slavery  the  ex- 
tinction of  society  and  the  subversion  of  the  State ; 
his  imagination  could  compass  no  crime  more  daring 
in  the  conception,  or  more  terrible  in  the  execution. 
He  saw  in  it  the  violation  of  every  law,  human  and 
divine,  from  the  Ten  Commandments  to  the  last  Act  of 
Assembly,  —  the  inauguration  of  every  disaster  and  of 
every  enormity  which  men  in  their  sober  senses  equally 
fear  and  detest ;  it  was  the  knife  to  his  throat,  the  torch 
to  his  roof,  a  peril  unutterable  to  his  wife  and  daughter, 
and  certain  penury,  or  worse,  to  such  of  his  posterity 


as  might  survive  to  other  times.  We  smile  at  his 
delusion,  and  laugh  at  his  fears ;  but  we  forget  that  they 
were  shared  by  eight  millions  of  intelligent  people,  and 
had  been  entertained  by  the  entire  generation  of  patriots 
and  statesmen  who  made  the  Union,  —  by  Jefferson  who 
opposed  slavery  and  "trembled"  for  the  judgment,  as 
by  the  New- England  ship-owner  and  the  Georgia  planter, 
who  struck  hands  to  continue  the  African  slave-trade 
till  1808. 

Mr.  Lincoln  himself,  with  that  charity  for  honest  but 
mistaken  opinions  which  more  than  once  induced  him 
to  pause  long  and  reflect  seriously  before  committing 
his  Administration  to  the  extremities  of  party  rage,  de- 
clared in  an  elaborate  speech,  that,  had  his  lot  been  cast 
in  the  South,  he  would  no  doubt  have  been  a  zealous 
defender  of  the  "  peculiar  institution,"  —  and  confessed, 
that,  were  he  then  possessed  of  unlimited  power,  he 
would  not  know  how  to  liberate  the  slaves  without  fatally 
disturbing  the  peace  and  prosperity  of  the  country.  He 
had  once  said  in  a  speech ;  "  The  Southern  people  are 
just  what  we  would  be  in  their  situation.  If  slavery  did 
not  now  exist  among  them,  they  would  not  introduce  it : 
if  it  did  now  exist  among  us,  we  should  not  instantly  give 
it  up.  This  I  believe  of  the  masses  North  and  South. 
Doubtless,  there  are  individuals  on  both  sides  who 
would  not  hold  slaves  under  any  circumstances;  and 
others  would  gladly  introduce  slavery  anew  if  it  were 
out  of  existence.  We  know  that  some  Southern  men  do 
free  their  slaves,  go  North,  and  become  tip-top  Aboli- 



tionists  ;  while  some  Northern  men  go  South,  and  become 
cruel  slave-masters." 

Judge  Jeremiah  S.  Black,  in  a  paper  written  in  re- 
sponse to  a  memorial  address  on  William  H.  Seward, 
said :  "  The  Southern  people  sprang  from  a  race  ac- 
customed for  two  thousand  years  to  dominate  over  all 
other  races  with  which  it  came  in  contact.  They 
supposed  themselves  greatly  superior  to  negroes,  most 
of  them  sincerely  believing  that  if  they  and  the  African 
must  live  together,  the  best  and  safest  relations  that  could 
be  established  between  them  was  that  of  master  and 
servant.  .  .  .  Some  of  them  believed  slavery  a  danger- 
ous evil,  but  did  not  see  how  to  get  rid  of  it.  They  felt 
as  Jefferson  did,  that  they  had  the  wolf  by  the  ears : 
they  could  neither  hold  on  with  comfort  nor  let  go  with 
safety,  and  it  made  them  extremely  indignant  to  be 
goaded  in  the  rear.  In  all  that  country  from  the  Potomac 
to  the  Gulf  there  was  probably  not  one  man  who  felt 
convinced  that  this  difficult  subject  could  be  determined 
for  them  by  strangers  and  enemies ;  seeing  that  we  in 
the  North  had  held  fast  to  every  pound  of  human  flesh 
we  owned,  and  either  worked  it  to  death  or  sold  it  for  a 
price,  our  provision  for  the  freedom  of  unborn  negroes 
did  not  tend  much  to  their  edification.  They  had  no 
confidence  in  that  '  ripening '  influence  of  humanity 
which  turned  up  the  white  of  its  eyes  at  a  negro  com- 
pelled to  hoe  corn  and  pick  cotton,  and  yet  gloated  over 
the  prospect  of  insurrection  and  massacre." 

Further,  emancipation  was  a  question  of  figures  as  well 


as  feeling.  The  loss  of  four  millions  of  slaves,  at  an 
average  value  of  six  hundred  dollars  each,  constituted  in 
the  aggregate  a  sacrifice  too  vast  to  be  contemplated  for 
a  moment.  Yet  this  was  but  a  single  item.  The  cotton 
crop  of  1860  was  worth  the  round  sum  of  a  hundred  and 
ninety-eight  million  dollars,  while  that  of  1859  was 
worth  two  hundred  and  forty-seven  million  dollars,  and 
the  demand  still  in  excess  of  the  supply.  It  formed  the 
bulk  of  our  exchanges  with  Europe  ;  paid  our  foreign 
indebtedness;  maintained  a  great  marine;  built  towns, 
cities,  and  railways;  enriched  factors,  brokers,  and 
bankers ;  filled  the  federal  treasury  to  overflowing,  and 
made  the  foremost  nations  of  the  world  commercially 
our  tributaries  and  politically  our  dependants.  A  short 
crop  embarrassed  and  distressed  all  western  Europe ;  a 
total  failure,  a  war,  or  non- intercourse,  would  reduce 
whole  communities  to  famine,  and  probably  precipitate 
them  into  revolution.  It  was  an  opinion  generally 
received,  and  scarcely  questioned  anywhere,  that  cotton- 
planting  could  be  carried  on  only  by  African  labor,  and 
that  African  labor  was  possible  only  under  compulsion. 
Here,  then,  was  another  item  of  loss,  which,  being  pros- 
pective, could  neither  be  measured  by  statistics  nor  com- 
puted in  figures.  Add  to  this  the  sudden  conversion 
of  millions  of  producers  into  mere  consumers,  the  de- 
preciation of  real  estate,  the  depreciation  of  stocks  and 
securities  as  of  banks  and  railways,  dependent  for  their 
value  upon  the  inland  commerce  in  the  products  of 
slave-labor,  with  the  waste,  disorder,  and  bloodshed 


inevitably  attending  a  revolution  like  this,  and  you  have 
a  sum-total  literally  appalling.  Could  any  people  on 
earth  tamely  submit  to  spoliation  so  thorough  and  so 
fatal?  The  very  Bengalese  would  muster  the  last  man, 
and  stake  the  last  jewel,  to  avert  it. 

In  the  last  days  of  March,  1861,  I  was  sent  by  Presi- 
dent Lincoln  on  a  confidential  mission  to  Charleston, 
South  Carolina.  It  was  in  its  nature  one  of  great 
delicacy  and  importance;  and  the  state  of  the  public 
mind  in  the  South  at  that  juncture  made  it  one  not 
altogether  free  from  danger  to  life  and  limb,  as  I  was 
rather  roughly  reminded  before  the  adventure  was  con- 
cluded. Throughout  the  entire  land  was  heard  the  tumult 
of  mad  contention;  the  representative  men,  the  pol- 
iticians and  the  press  of  the  two  sections  were  hurling 
at  one  another  deadly  threats  and  fierce  defiance ;  sober 
and  thoughtful  men  heard  with  sickening  alarm  the  deep 
and  not  distant  mutterings  of  the  coming  storm ;  and  all 
minds  were  agitated  by  gloomy  forebodings,  distressing 
doubts,  and  exasperating  uncertainty  as  to  what  the 
next  move  in  the  strange  drama  would  be.  Following 
the  lead  of  South  Carolina,  the  secession  element  of 
other  Southern  States  had  cut  them  loose,  one  by  one, 
from  their  federal  moorings,  and  "  The  Confederate 
States  of  America  "  was  the  result.  It  was  at  the  virtual 
Capital  of  the  State  which  had  been  the  pioneer  in  all 
this  haughty  and  stupendous  work  of  rebellion  that  I 
was  about  to  trust  my  precious  life  and  limbs  as  a 
stranger  within  her  gates  and  an  enemy  to  her  cause. 


Up  to  this  time,  Mr.  Lincoln  had  been  slow  to  realize 
or  to  acknowledge,  even  to  himself,  the  awful  gravity  of 
the  situation,  and  the  danger  that  the  gathering  clouds 
portended.  Certain  it  is  that  Mr.  Seward  wildly  under- 
rated the  courage  and  determination  of  the  Southern 
people,  and  both  men  indulged  the  hope  that  pacific 
means  might  yet  be  employed  to  arrest  the  tide  of 
passion  and  render  a  resort  to  force  unnecessary.  Mr. 
Seward  was  inclined,  as  the  world  knows,  to  credit  the 
Southern  leaders  with  a  lavish  supply  of  noisy  bravado, 
quite  overlooking  the  dogged  pertinacity  and  courage 
which  Mr.  Lincoln  well  knew  would  characterize  those 
men,  as  well  as  the  Southern  masses,  in  case  of 
armed  conflict  between  the  sections.  Mr.  Lincoln  had 
Southern  blood  in  his  veins,  and  he  knew  well  the 
character  of  that  people.  He  believed  it  possible  to 
effect  some  accommodation  by  dealing  directly  with  the 
most  chivalrous  among  their  leaders;  at  all  events  he 
thought  it  his  duty  to  try,  and  my  embassy  to  Charleston 
was  one  of  his  experiments  in  that  direction. 

It  was  believed  in  the  South  that  Mr.  Seward  had 
given  assurances,  before  and  after  Lincoln's  inauguration, 
that  no  attempt  would  be  made  to  reinforce  the  Southern 
forts,  or  to  resupply  Fort  Sumter,  under  a  Republican 
Administration.  This  made  matters  embarrassing,  as 
Mr.  Lincoln's  Administration  had,  on  the  contrary, 
adopted  the  policy  of  maintaining  the  federal  authority 
at  all  points,  and  of  tolerating  no  interference  in  the 
enforcement  of  that  authority  from  any  source  whatever. 


When  my  mission  to  Charleston  was  suggested  by 
Mr.  Lincoln,  Mr.  Seward  promptly  opposed  it.  "Mr. 
President,"  said  he,  "  I  greatly  fear  that  you  are  send- 
ing Lamon  to  his  grave.  I  fear  they  may  kill  him  in 
Charleston.  Those  people  are  greatly  excited,  and  are 
very  desperate.  We  can't  spare  Lamon,  and  we  shall 
feel  very  badly  if  anything  serious  should  happen 
to  him." 

"  Mr.  Secretary,"  replied  Mr.  Lincoln,  "  I  have  known 
Lamon  to  be  in  many  a  close  place,  and  he  has  never 
been  in  one  that  he  did  n't  get  out  of.  By  Jing !  I  '11 
risk  him.  Go,  Lamon,  and  God  bless  you  !  Bring  back 
a  Palmetto,  if  you  can't  bring  us  good  news." 

Armed  with  certain  credentials  —  from  the  President, 
Mr.  Seward,  General  Scott,  Postmaster-General  Blair, 
and  others  —  I  set  out  on  my  doubtful  and  ticklish 

While  I  was  preparing  my  baggage  at  Willard's  Hotel, 
General  (then  Mr.  Stephen  A.)  Hurlbut,  of  Illinois,  en- 
tered my  room,  and  seeing  how  I  was  engaged  inquired 
as  to  the  object.  He  being  an  old  and  reliable  friend,  I 
told  him  without  hesitation ;  and  he  immediately  asked 
if  he  might  not  be  allowed  to  accompany  me.  He 
desired,  he  said,  to  pay  a  last  visit  to  Charleston,  the 
place  of  his  birth,  and  to  a  sister  living  there,  before  the 
dread  outbreak  which  he  knew  was  coming.  I  saw  no 
objection.  He  hurried  to  his  rooms  to  make  his  own 
preparations,  whence,  an  hour  later,  I  took  him  and  his 
wife  to  the  boat. 


On  arriving  at  Charleston  about  eight  o'clock  Satur- 
day night,  the  Hurlbuts  went  to  the  house  of  a  kinsman, 
and  I  went  to  the  Charleston  Hotel.  It  so  happened 
that  several  young  Virginians  arrived  on  the  same  train, 
and  stopped  at  the  same  hotel.  They  all  registered 
from  Virginia,  and  made  the  fact  known  with  some  show 
of  enthusiasm  that  they  had  come  to  join  the  Con- 
federate army.  I  registered  simply  "  Ward  H.  Lamon," 
followed  by  a  long  dash  of  the  pen. 

That  evening,  and  all  the  next  day  (Sunday),  little 
attention  was  paid  to  me,  and  no  one  knew  me.  I 
visited  the  venerable  and  distinguished  lawyer,  Mr.  James 
L.  Petigru,  and  had  a  conference  with  him,  —  having 
been  enjoined  to  do  so  by  Mr.  Lincoln,  who  personally 
knew  that  Mr.  Petigru  was  a  Union  man.  At  the  close 
of  the  interview  Mr.  Petigru  said  to  me  that  he  seldom 
stirred  from  his  house;  that  he  had  no  sympathy  with 
the  rash  movements  of  his  people,  and  that  few  sympa- 
thized with  him ;  that  the  whole  people  were  infuriated 
and  crazed,  and  that  no  act  of  headlong  violence  by 
them  would  surprise  him.  In  saying  farewell,  with  warm 
expressions  of  good-will,  he  said  that  he  hoped  he  should 
not  be  considered  inhospitable  if  he  requested  me  not 
to  repeat  my  visit,  as  every  one  who  came  near  him  was 
watched,  and  intercourse  with  him  could  only  result  in 
annoyance  and  danger  to  the  visitor  as  well  as  to  himself, 
and  would  fail  to  promote  any  good  to  the  Union  cause. 
It  was  now  too  late,  he  said ;  peaceable  secession  or  war 
was  inevitable. 


Governor  Pickens  and  his  admirable  and  beautiful 
wife  were  boarding  at  the  Charleston  Hotel.  Early 
Monday  morning  I  sent  my  card  to  the  governor  re- 
questing an  interview,  and  stating  that  I  was  from  the 
President  of  the  United  States.  The  answer  came  that 
he  would  see  me  as  soon  as  he  was  through  with  his 
breakfast.  I  then  strolled  downstairs  into  the  main 
lobby  and  corridors,  where,  early  as  the  hour  was,  I 
soon  discovered  that  something  wonderful  was  "  in  the 
wind,"  and,  moreover,  that  that  wonderful  something  was 
embodied  in  my  own  person.  I  was  not,  like  Hamlet, 
"  the  glass  of  fashion  and  the  mould  of  form,"  yet  I  was 
somehow  "the  observed  of  all  observers."  I  was  con- 
scious that  I  did  not  look  like  "the  expectancy  and 
rose  of  the  fair  state ;  "  that  my  "personal  pulchritude," 
as  a  witty  statesman  has  it,  was  not  overwhelming  to 
the  beholder ;  and  yet  I  found  myself  at  that  moment 
immensely,  not  to  say  alarmingly,  attractive. 

The  news  had  spread  far  and  wide  that  a  great 
Goliath  from  the  North,  a  "Yankee  Lincoln-hireling," 
had  come  suddenly  into  their  proud  city,  uninvited,  un- 
heralded. Thousands  of  persons  had  gathered  to  see 
the  strange  ambassador.  The  corridors,  the  main  office 
and  lobby,  were  thronged,  and  the  adjacent  streets  were 
crowded  as  well  with  excited  spectators,  mainly  of  the 
lower  order,  —  that  class  of  dowdy  patriots  who  in  times 
of  public  commotion  always  find  the  paradise  of  the 
coward,  the  bruiser,  and  the  blackguard.  There  was  a 
wagging  of  heads,  a  chorus  of  curses  and  epithets  not  at 


all  complimentary,  and  all  eyes  were  fixed  upon  the 
daring  stranger,  who  seemed  to  be  regarded  not  as  the 
bearer  of  the  olive-branch  of  peace,  but  as  a  demon 
come  to  denounce  the  curse  of  war,  pestilence,  and 
famine.  This  was  my  initiation  into  the  great  "Un- 
pleasantness," and  the  situation  was  certainly  painful 
and  embarrassing ;  but  there  was  plainly  nothing  to  do 
but  to  assume  a  bold  front. 

I  pressed  my  way  through  the  mass  of  excited 
humanity  to  the  clerk's  counter,  examined  the  register, 
then  turned,  and  with  difficulty  elbowed  my  way  through 
the  dense  crowd  to  the  door  of  the  breakfast-room. 
There  I  was  touched  upon  the  shoulder  by  an  elderly 
man,  who  asked  in  a  tone  of  peremptory  authority,  — 

"Are  you  Mark  Lamon?" 

"  No,  sir ;  I  am  Ward  H.  Lamon,  at  your  service." 

"Are  you  the  man  who  registered  here  as  Lamon, 
from  Virginia?" 

"  I  registered  as  Ward  H.  Lamon,  without  designating 
my  place  of  residence.  What  is  your  business  with 
me,  sir?" 

"  Oh,  well,"  continued  the  man  of  authority,  "  have 
you  any  objection  to  state  what  business  you  have  here 
in  Charleston?" 

"  Yes,  I  have."  Then  after  a  pause,  during  which  I 
surveyed  my  questioner  with  as  much  coolness  as  the 
state  of  my  nerves  would  allow,  I  added,  "  My  business 
is  with  your  governor,  who  is  to  see  me  as  soon  as 
he  has  finished  his  breakfast.  If  he  chooses  to  impart 


to   you   my  business   in   this   city,   you   will   know  it; 
otherwise,  not." 

"  Beg  pardon ;  if  you  have  business  with  our  governor, 
it 's  all  right ;  we  "11  see." 

Shortly  after  breakfast  I  was  waited  upon  by  one  of 
the  governor's  staff,  a  most  courtly  and  agreeable  gentle- 
man, in  full  military  uniform,  who  informed  me  that  the 
governor  was  ready  to  receive  me. 

My  interview  with  Governor  Pickens  was,  to  me,  a 
memorable  one.  After  saying  to  him  what  President 
Lincoln  had  directed  me  to  say,  a  general  discussion 
took  place  touching  the  critical  state  of  public  affairs. 
With  a  most  engaging  courtesy,  and  an  open  frankness 
for  which  that  brave  man  was  justly  celebrated,  he  told 
me  plainly  that  he  was  compelled  to  be  both  radical 
and  violent ;  that  he  regretted  the  necessity  of  violent 
measures,  but  that  he  could  see  no  way  out  of  existing 
difficulties  but  to  fight  out.  "  Nothing,"  said  he,  "  can 
prevent  war  except  the  acquiescence  of  the  President 
of  the  United  States  in  secession,  and  his  unalterable 
resolve  not  to  attempt  any  reinforcement  of  the  Southern 
forts.  To  think  of  longer  remaining  in  the  Union  is 
simply  preposterous.  We  have  five  thousand  well-armed 
soldiers  around  this  city ;  all  the  States  are  arming  with 
great  rapidity;  and  this  means  war  with  all  its  conse- 
quences. Let  your  President  attempt  to  reinforce  Sumter, 
and  the  tocsin  of  war  will  be  sounded  from  every  hill-top 
and  valley  in  the  South." 

This  settled  the  matter  so  far  as  accommodation  was 


concerned.     There   was  no  doubt  in   my  mind    that 
Pickens  voiced  the  sentiment  of  Rebellion. 

My  next  duty  was  to  confer  with  Major  Anderson  at 
the  beleaguered  fort.  On  my  intimating  a  desire  to  see 
that  officer,  Governor  Pickens  promptly  placed  in  my 
hands  the  following:  — 

EXECUTIVE  DEPARTMENT,  25  March,  1861. 
Mr.  Lamon,  from  the   President  of  the  United  States, 
requests  to  see  Major  Anderson  at  Fort  Sumter,  on  busi- 
ness entirely  pacific ;  and  my  aid,  Colonel  Duryea,  will  go 
with  him  and  return,  merely  to  see  that  every  propriety  is 
observed  toward  Mr.  Lamon. 

F.  W.  PICKENS,  Governor. 

A  flag-of-truce  steamer  was  furnished  by  the  governor, 
under  charge  of  Colonel  Duryea,  a  genial  and  accom- 
plished gentleman  to  whom  I  am  indebted  for  most 
considerate  courtesy,  and  I  proceeded  to  Fort  Sumter. 
I  found  Anderson  in  a  quandary,  and  deeply  despondent. 
He  fully  realized  the  critical  position  he  and  his  men 
occupied,  and  he  apprehended  the  worst  possible  con- 
sequences if  measures  were  not  promptly  taken  by  the 
government  to  strengthen  him.  His  subordinates  gener- 
ally, on  the  contrary,  seemed  to  regard  the  whole  affair 
as  a  sort  of  picnic,  and  evinced  a  readiness  to  meet  any 
fate.  They  seemed  to  be  "spoiling  for  a  fight,"  and 
were  eager  for  anything  that  might  relieve  the  monotony 
of  their  position.  War  seemed  as  inevitable  to  them  as 
to  Governor  Pickens. 


After  a  full  and  free  conference  with  Major  Anderson, 
I  returned  to  the  Charleston  Hotel.  The  excited  crowds 
were  still  in  the  streets,  and  the  hotel  was  overflowing 
with  anxious  people.  The  populace  seemed  maddened 
by  their  failure  to  learn  anything  of  the  purpose  or 
results  of  my  visit.  The  aspect  of  things  was  threatening 
to  my  personal  safety,  and  Governor  Pickens  had  already 
taken  steps  to  allay  the  excitement. 

A  rope  had  been  procured  by  the  rabble  and  thrown 
into  one  corner  of  the  reading-room ;  and  as  I  entered 
the  room  I  was  accosted  by  a  seedy  patriot,  somewhat 
past  the  middle  age.  He  was  dressed  in  a  fork-tailed 
coat  with  brass  buttons,  which  looked  as  if  it  might  have 
done  service  at  Thomas  Jefferson's  first  reception.  He 
wore  a  high  bell-crowned  hat,  with  an  odor  and  rust  of 
antiquity  which  seemed  to  proclaim  it  a  relic  from  the 
wardrobe  of  Sir  Walter  Raleigh.  His  swarthy  throat  was 
decorated  with  a  red  bandana  cravat  and  a  shirt-collar 
of  amazing  amplitude,  and  of  such  fantastic  pattern  that 
it  might  have  served  as  a  "  fly  "  to  a  Sibley  tent.  This 
individual  was  in  a  rage.  Kicking  the  rope  into  the 
middle  of  the  room,  and  squaring  himself  before  me, 
he  said, — 

"Do   you   think   that  is   strong   enough   to  hang   a 

damned Lincoln  abolition  hireling?" 

To  this  highly  significant  interrogatory  I  replied,  aim- 
ing my  words  more  at  the  crowd  than  at  the  beggarly 
ruffian  who  had  addressed  me,  "  Sir,  I  am  a  Virginian 
by  birth,  and  a  gentleman,  I  hope,  by  education  and 

JState  of  J&onth  Ofarolina 



instinct.  I  was  sent  here  by  the  President  of  the  United 
States  to  see  your  governor  —  " 

The  seedy  spokesman  interrupted  with,  "  Damn  your 
President ! " 

I  continued  :  "You,  sir,  are  surrounded  by  your 
friends  —  by  a  mob ;  and  you  are  brutal  and  cowardly 
enough  to  insult  an  unoffending  stranger  in  the  great 
city  that  is  noted  for  its  hospitality  and  chivalry ;  and 
let  me  tell  you  that  your  conduct  is  cowardly  in  the 
extreme.  Among  gentlemen,  the  brutal  epithets  you 
employ  are  neither  given  nor  received." 

This  saucy  speech  awoke  a  flame  of  fury  in  the  mob, 
and  there  is  no  telling  what  might  have  happened  but 
for  the  lucky  entrance  into  the  room  at  that  moment  of 
Hon.  Lawrence  Keitt,  who  approached  me  and  laying 
his  hand  familiarly  on  my  shoulder,  said,  — 

"  Why,  Lamon,  old  fellow,  where  did  you  come  from  ? 
I  am  glad  to  see  you." 

The  man  with  the  brass  buttons  showed  great  aston- 
ishment. "Keitt,"  said  he,  "do  you  speak  to  that 
Lincoln  hireling?" 

"Stop!"  thundered  Keitt ;  "you  insult  Lamon,  and 
you  insult  me  !  He  is  a  gentleman,  and  my  friend. 
Come,  Lamon,  let  us  take  a  drink." 

The  noble  and  generous  Keitt  knew  me  well,  and  it 
may  be  supposed  that  his  "  smiling "  invitation  was 
music  in  one  sinner's  ears  at  least.  Further  insults  to 
the  stranger  from  the  loafer  element  of  Charleston  were 
not  indulged  in.  The  extremes  of  Southern  character'- 


the  top  and  the  bottom  of  the  social  scale  in  the 
slaveholding  States  —  were  exemplified  in  the  scene  just 
described,  by  Keitt  and  the  blustering  bully  with  the 
shirt-collar.  The  first,  cultivated,  manly,  noble,  hospit- 
able, brave,  and  generous ;  the  other,  mean,  unmanly, 
unkempt,  untaught,  and  reeking  with  the  fumes  of  the 
blackguard  and  the  brute.6 

My  instructions  from  Mr.  Lincoln  required  me  to  see 
and  confer  with  the  postmaster  of  Charleston.  By  this 
time  the  temper  of  the  riotous  portion  of  the  populace, 
inflamed  by  suspicion  and  disappointed  rage,  made  my 
further  appearance  on  the  streets  a  hazardous  adventure. 
Again  Governor  Pickens,  who  despised  the  cowardice  as 
he  deplored  the  excesses  of  the  mob,  interposed  his 
authority.  To  his  thoughtful  courtesy  I  was  indebted 
for  the  following  pass,  which  enabled  me  to  visit  the 
postmaster  without  molestation  :  — 

HEADQUARTERS,  25  March,  1861. 

The  bearer,  Mr.  Lamon,  has  business  with  Mr.  Huger, 
Postmaster  of  Charleston,  and  must  not  be  interrupted  by 
any  one,  as  his  business  in  Charleston  is  entirely  pacific  in 
all  matters. 

F.  W.  PICKENS,  Governor. 

At  eight  o'clock  that  Monday  night  I  took  the  train 
for  my  return  to  Washington.  At  a  station  in  the  out- 
skirts of  the  city  my  friends,  General  Hurlbut  and  wife, 
came  aboard.  Hurlbut  knew  the  conductor,  who  gave 
him  seats  that  were  as  private  as  possible.  Very  soon 
the  conductor  slipped  a  note  into  my  hands  that  was 


significant  as  well   as   amusing.     It  was  from  General 
Hurlbut,  and  was  in  the  following  words  :  — 

Don't  you  recognize  us  until  this  train  gets  out  of  South 
Carolina.  There  is  danger  ahead,  and  a  damned  sight  of  it. 


This  injunction  was  scrupulously  observed.  I  learned 
afterward  that  about  all  of  Hurlbut's  time  in  Charleston 
had  been  employed  in  eluding  the  search  of  the  vigilants, 
who,  it  was  feared,  would  have  given  him  a  rough  wel- 
come to  Charleston  if  they  had  known  in  time  of  his 
presence  there. 

Without  further  adventure  we  reached  Washington  in 
safety,  only  a  few  days  before  the  tocsin  of  war  was 
sounded  by  the  firing  on  Fort  Sumter.  On  my  return, 
the  President  learned  for  the  first  time  that  Hurlbut  had 
been  in  South  Carolina.  He  laughed  heartily  over  my 
unvarnished  recital  of  Hurlbut's  experience  in  the  hot- 
bed of  secession,  though  he  listened  with  profound  and 
saddened  attention  to  my  account  of  the  condition  of 
things  in  the  fort  on  the  one  hand,  and  in  the  State  and 
city  on  the  other. 

I  brought  back  with  me  a  Palmetto  branch,  but  I 
brought  no  promise  of  peace.  I  had  measured  the 
depth  of  madness  that  was  hurrying  the  Southern  masses 
into  open  rebellion ;  I  had  ascertained  the  real  temper 
and  determination  of  their  leaders  by  personal  contact 
with  them ;  and  this  made  my  mission  one  that  was 
not  altogether  without  profit  to  the  great  man  at  whose 
bidding  I  made  the  doubtful  journey. 



r)OLITICAL  definitions  have  undergone  some  curious 
•*•  changes  in  this  country  since  the  beginning  of  the 
present  century.  In  the  year  1801,  Thomas  Jefferson 
was  the  first  "  republican "  President  of  the  United 
States,  as  the  term  was  then  defined.  Sixty  years  later, 
Abraham  Lincoln  was  hailed  as  our  first  Republican 
President.  The  Sage  of  Monticello  was,  indeed,  the 
first  to  introduce  at  the  Executive  Mansion  a  genuine 
republican  code  of  social  and  official  etiquette.  It 
was  a  wide  departure  from  the  ceremonial  and  showy 
observances  for  which  Hamilton,  his  great  rival,  had  so 
long  contended,  and  which  were  peculiarly  distasteful  to 
the  hardy  freemen  of  the  new  Republic. 

Mr.  Lincoln  profoundly  admired  the  Virginian.  Noth- 
ing in  the  career  or  the  policy  of  Jefferson  was  nearer 
his  heart  than  the  homely  and  healthful  republicanism 
implied  in  the  term  "  Jeffersonian  simplicity."  While 
Mr.  Lincoln  occupied  the  White  House,  his  intercourse 
with  his  fellow-citizens  was  fashioned  after  the  Jeffer- 
sonian idea.  He  believed  that  there  should  be  the 
utmost  freedom  of  intercourse  between  the  people  and 
their  President.  Jefferson  had  the  truly  republican  idea 


that  he  was  the  servant  of  the  people,  not  their  master. 
That  was  Lincoln's  idea  also.  Jefferson  welcomed  to 
the  White  House  the  humble  mechanic  and  the  haughty 
aristocrat  with  the  same  unaffected  cordiality.  Mr. 
Lincoln  did  the  same.  "There  is  no  smell  of  royalty 
about  this  establishment,"  was  a  jocular  expression  which 
I  have  heard  Mr.  Lincoln  use  many  times ;  and  it  was 
thoroughly  characteristic  of  the  man. 

"  Lincolnian  simplicity  "  was,  in  fact,  an  improvement 
on  the  code  of  his  illustrious  predecessor.  The  doors  of 
the  White  House  were  always  open.  Mr.  Lincoln  was 
always  ready  to  greet  visitors,  no  matter  what  their  rank 
or  calling,  —  to  hear  their  complaints,  their  petitions,  or 
their  suggestions  touching  the  conduct  of  public  affairs. 
The  ease  with  which  he  could  be  approached  vastly 
increased  his  labor.  It  also  led  to  many  scenes  at  the 
White  House  that  were  strangely  amusing  and  sometimes 

Early  in  the  year  1865,  certain  influential  citizens  of 
Missouri,  then  in  Washington,  held  a  meeting  to  consider 
the  disturbed  state  of  the  border  counties,  and  to 
formulate  a  plan  for  securing  Executive  interference  in 
behalf  of  their  oppressed  fellow-citizens.  They  "  where- 
ased "  and  "  resolved "  at  great  length,  and  finally 
appointed  a  committee  charged  with  the  duty  of  visiting 
Mr.  Lincoln,  of  stating  their  grievances,  and  of  demand- 
ing the  removal  of  General  Fisk  and  the  appointment  of 
Gen.  John  B.  McPherson  in  his  place.  The  committee 
consisted  of  an  ex-governor  and  several  able  and  earnest 



gentlemen  deeply  impressed  with  the  importance  of  their 

They  entered  the  White  House  with  some  trepidation. 
It  was  at  a  critical  period  of  the  war,  and  they  supposed 
it  would  be  difficult  to  get  the  ear  of  the  President. 
Grant  was  on  the  march  to  Richmond,  and  Sherman's 
army  was  returning  from  the  sea.  The  committee  knew 
that  Mr.  Lincoln  would  be  engaged  in  considering  the 
momentous  events  then  developing,  and  they  were  there- 
fore greatly  surprised  to  find  the  doors  thrown  open  to 
them.  They  were  cordially  invited  to  enter  Mr.  Lin- 
coln's office. 

The  ex-governor  took  the  floor  in  behalf  of  the  op- 
pressed Missourians.  He  first  presented  the  case  of  a 
certain  lieutenant,  who  was  described  as  a  very  lonely 
Missourian,  an  orphan,  his  family  and  relatives  having 
joined  the  Confederate  army.  Through  evil  reports 
and  the  machinations  of  enemies  this  orphan  had  got 
into  trouble.  Among  other  things  the  orator  described 
the  orphan's  arrest,  his  trial  and  conviction  on  the 
charge  of  embezzling  the  money  of  the  government ;  and 
he  made  a  moving  appeal  to  the  President  for  a  reopen- 
ing of  the  case  and  the  restoration  of  the  abused  man  to 
his  rank  and  pay  in  the  army.  The  papers  in  the  case 
were  handed  to  Mr.  Lincoln,  and  he  was  asked  to 
examine  them  for  himself. 

The  bulky  package  looked  formidable.  Mr.  Lincoln 
took  it  up  and  began  reading  aloud :  "  Whereas,  conduct 
unbecoming  an  officer  and  a  gentleman  "  —  "  Whereas, 


without  resentment  the  said  lieutenant  received  a  letter 

from  a  man  named ,  stating  that  the  President  must 

be  a  negro ;  "  and  "  Whereas,  the  said  lieutenant  cor- 
ruptly received  while  an  officer  on  duty,  from  a  man  in 
,  the  sum  of  forty  dollars —  " 

"  Stop  there  !  "  exclaimed  the  lieutenant,  who  was  at 
that  moment  behind  the  ex-governor's  chair.  "  Why, 
Mr.  Lincoln  —  beg  pardon —  Mr.  President,  it  wa'  n't  but 
thirty  dollars." 

"  Yes,"  said  the  governor,  "  that  charge,  Mr.  President, 
is  clearly  wrong.  It  was  only  thirty  dollars,  as  we  can 

"  Governor,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln,  who  was  by  this  time 
thoroughly  amused,  but  grave  as  a  judge,  "  that  reminds 
me  of  a  man  in  Indiana,  who  was  in  a  battle  of  words 
with  a  neighbor.  One  charged  that  the  other's  daughter 
had  three  illegitimate  children.  '  Now,'  said  the  man 
whose  family  was  so  outrageously  scandalized,  '  that 's  a 
lie,  and  I  can  prove  it,  for  she  only  has  two.'  This  case 
is  no  better.  Whether  the  amount  was  thirty  dollars  or 
thirty  thousand  dollars,  the  culpability  is  the  same." 
Then,  after  reading  a  little  further,  he  said  :  "  I  believe  I 
will  leave  this  case  where  it  was  left  by  the  officers  who 
tried  it." 

The  ex-governor  next  presented  a  very  novel  case. 
With  the  most  solemn  deliberation  he  began :  "  Mr. 
President,  I  want  to  call  your  attention  .to  the  case  of 
Betsy  Ann  Dougherty,  —  a  good  woman.  She  lived  in 
County,  and  did  my  washing  for  a  long  time.  Her 


husband  went  off  and  joined  the  rebel  army,  and  I  wish 
you  would  give  her  a  protection  paper."  The  solemnity 
of  this  appeal  struck  Mr.  Lincoln  as  uncommonly 

The  two  men  looked  at  each  other,  —  the  governor 
desperately  in  earnest,  and  the  President  masking  his 
humor  behind  the  gravest  exterior.  At  last  Mr.  Lincoln 
asked  with  inimitable  gravity,  "  Was  Betsy  Ann  a  good 
washerwoman  ?  " 

"  Oh,  yes,  sir ;  she  was  indeed." 

"  Was  your  Betsy  Ann  an  obliging  woman  ?  " 

"  Yes,  she  was  certainly  very  kind,"  responded  the 
governor,  soberly. 

"Could  she  do  other  things  than  wash?"  continued 
Mr.  Lincoln,  with  the  same  portentous  gravity. 

"  Oh,  yes ;  she  was  very  kind  —  very." 

"Where  is  Betsy  Ann?" 

"  She  is  now  in  New  York,  and  wants  to  come  back 
to  Missouri ;  but  she  is  afraid  of  banishment." 

"  Is  anybody  meddling  with  her?  " 

"  No ;  but  she  is  afraid  to  come  back  unless  you  will 
give  her  a  protection  paper." 

Thereupon  Mr.  Lincoln  wrote  on  a  visiting  card  the 
following :  — 

Let  Betsy  Ann  Dougherty  alone  as  long  as  she  behaves 
herself.  A.  LINCOLN. 

He  handed  this  card  to  her  advocate,  saying,  "  Give 
this  to  Betsy  Ann." 


"  But,  Mr.  President,  could  n't  you  write  a  few  words 
to  the  officers  that  would  insure  her  protection?  " 

"No,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln,  "officers  have  no  time  now 
to  read  letters.  Tell  Betsy  Ann  to  put  a  string  in  this 
card  and  hang  it  round  her  neck.  When  the  officers 
see  this,  they  will  keep  their  hands  off  your  Betsy  Ann." 

A  critical  observer  of  this  ludicrous  scene  could  not 
fail  to  see  that  Mr.  Lincoln  was  seeking  needed  relaxation 
from  overburdening  cares,  relief  from  the  severe  mental 
strain  he  was  daily  undergoing.  By  giving  attention  to 
mirth-provoking  trifles  along  with  matters  of  serious 
concern,  he  found  needed  diversion.  We  can  never 
know  how  much  the  country  profited  by  the  humor- 
loving  nature  of  this  wonderful  man. 

After  patiently  hearing  all  the  Missouri  committee  had 
to  say,  and  giving  them  the  best  assurances  circumstances 
would  allow,  he  dismissed  them  from  his  presence, 
enjoyed  a  hearty  laugh,  and  then  relapsed  into  his 
accustomed  melancholy,  contemplative  mood,  as  if  look- 
ing for  something  else,  —  looking  for  the  end.  He  sat 
for  a  time  at  his  desk  thinking,  then  turning  to  me  he 
said :  "  This  case  of  our  old  friend,  the  governor,  and 
his  Betsy  Ann,  is  a  fair  sample  of  the  trifles  I  am  con- 
stantly asked  to  give  my  attention  to.  I  wish  I  had 
no  more  serious  questions  to  deal  with.  If  there  were 
more  Betsy  Anns  and  fewer  fellows  like  her  husband,  we 
should  be  better  off.  She  seems  to  have  laundered  the 
governor  to  his  full  satisfaction,  but  I  am  sorry  she 
did  n't  keep  her  husband  washed  cleaner." 


Mr.  Lincoln  was  by  nature  singularly  merciful.  The 
ease  with  which  he  could  be  reached  by  persons  who 
might  profit  by  his  clemency  gave  rise  to  many  notable 
scenes  in  the  White  House  during  the  war. 

Mr.  Wheeler  tells  of  a  young  man  who  had  been  con- 
victed by  a  military  court  of  sleeping  at  his  post, — a 
grave  offence,  for  which  he  had  been  sentenced  to  death. 
He  was  but  nineteen  years  of  age,  and  the  only  son  of  a 
widowed  mother.  He  had  suffered  greatly  with  home- 
sickness, and  overpowered  at  night  with  cold  and  watch- 
ing, was  overcome  by  sleep.  He  had  always  been  an 
honest,  faithful,  temperate  soldier.  His  comrades  tele- 
graphed his  mother  of  his  fate.  She  at  once  went  to 
Orlando  Kellogg,  whose  kind  heart  promptly  responded 
to  her  request,  and  he  left  for  Washington  by  the  first 
train.  He  arrived  in  that  city  at  midnight.  The  boy 
was  to  be  executed  on  the  afternoon  of  the  next  day. 
With  the  aid  of  his  friend,  Mr.  Wheeler,  he  passed  the 
military  guard  about  the  White  House  and  reached  the 
doorkeeper,  who,  when  he  knew  Mr.  Kellogg's  errand, 
took  him  to  Mr.  Lincoln's  sleeping-room.  Arousing  Mr. 
Lincoln,  Mr.  Kellogg  made  known  the  emergency  in  a 
few  words.  Without  stopping  to  dress,  the  President 
went  to  another  room  and  awakened  a  messenger.  Then 
sitting  down,  still  in  undress,  he  wrote  a  telegram  to  the 
officer  commanding  at  Yorktown  to  suspend  the  exe- 
cution of  the  boy  until  further  orders.  The  telegram 
was  sent  at  once  to  the  War  Department,  with  directions 
to  the  messenger  to  remain  until  an  answer  was  received. 

'    HIS  SIMPLICITY.  87 

Getting  uneasy  at  the  seeming  delay,  Mr.  Lincoln  dressed, 
went  to  the  Department,  and  remained  until  the  receipt  • 
of  his  telegram  was  acknowledged.  Then  turning  to 
Kellogg,  with  trembling  voice  he  said,  "  Now  you  just 
telegraph  that  mother  that  her  boy  is  safe,  and  I  will  go 
home  and  go  to  bed.  I  guess  we  shall  all  sleep  better 
for  this  night's  work." 

A  somewhat  similar  proof  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  mercy  is  the 
story  told  of  a  very  young  man  living  in  one  of  the  south- 
ern counties  of  Kentucky,  who  had  been  enticed  into  the 
rebel  army.  After  remaining  with  it  in  Tennessee  a  few 
months  he  became  disgusted  or  weary,  and  managed  to 
make  his  way  back  to  his  home.  Soon  after  his  arrival, 
some  of  the  military  stationed  in  the  town  heard  of  his 
return  and  arrested  him  as  a  rebel  spy,  and,  after  a  mili- 
tary trial,  he  was  condemned  to  be  hanged.  His  family 
was  overwhelmed  with  distress  and  horror.  Mr.  Lincoln 
was  seen  by  one  of  his  friends  from  Kentucky,  who 
explained  his  errand  and  asked  for  mercy.  "  Oh,  yes,  I 
understand ;  some  one  has  been  crying,  and  worked 
upon  your  feelings,  and  you  have  come  here  to  work  on 

His  friend  then  went  more  into  detail,  and  assured 
him  of  his  belief  in  the  truth  of  the  story.  After  some 
deliberation,  Mr.  Lincoln,  evidently  scarcely  more  than 
half  convinced,  but  still  preferring  to  err  on  the  side  of 
mercy,  replied :  "  If  a  man  had  more  than  one  life,  I 
think  a  little  hanging  would  not  hurt  this  one ;  but  after 
he  is  once  dead  we  cannot  bring  him  back,  no  matter 


how  sorry  we  may  be ;  so  the  boy  shall  be  pardoned." 
And  a  reprieve  was  given  on  the  spot. 

The  following  incident  will  illustrate  another  phase  of 
Mr.  Lincoln's  character.  A  man  who  was  then  in  jail  at 
Newburyport,  Mass.,  as  a  convicted  slave-trader,  and 
who  had  been  fined  one  thousand  dollars  and  sentenced 
to  imprisonment  for  five  years,  petitioned  for  a  pardon. 
The  petition  was  accompanied  by  a  letter  to  the  Hon. 
John  B.  Alley,  a  member  of  Congress  from  Lynn,  Mass. 
Mr.  Alley  presented  the  papers  to  the  President,  with  a 
letter  from  the  prisoner  acknowledging  his  guilt  and  the 
justice  of  his  sentence.  He  had  served  out  the  term  of 
sentence  of  imprisonment,  but  was  still  held  on  account 
of  the  fine  not  being  paid.  Mr.  Lincoln  was  much 
moved  by  the  pathetic  appeal.  He  then,  after  pausing 
some  time,  said  to  Mr.  Alley :  "  My  friend,  this  appeal 
is  very  touching  to  my  feelings,  and  no  one  knows  my 
weakness  better  than  you.  It  is,  if  possible,  to  be  too 
easily  moved  by  appeals  for  mercy ;  and  I  must  say  that 
if  this  man  had  been  guilty  of  the  foulest  murder  that 
the  arm  of  man  could  perpetrate,  I  might  forgive  him  on 
such  an  appeal.  But  the  man  who  could  go  to  Africa 
and  rob  her  of  her  children,  and  then  sell  them  into 
interminable  bondage,  with  no  other  motive  than  that 
which  is  furnished  by  dollars  and  cents,  is  so  much  worse 
than  the  most  depraved  murderer  that  he  can  never 
receive  pardon  at  my  hand.  No,  sir ;  he  may  stay  in 
jail  forever  before  he  shall  have  liberty  by  any  act  of 
mine.'?  on  t^^x,u  nm*  0. . . 


After  the  war  had  been  fairly  inaugurated,  and  several 
battles  had  been  fought,  a  lady  from  Alexandria  visited 
Mr.  Lincoln,  and  importuned  him  to  give  an  order  for 
the  release  of  a  certain  church  in  that  place  which  had 
been  seized  and  used  as  a  hospital.  He  asked  and  was 
told  the  name  of  the  church,  and  that  there  were  but 
three  or  four  wounded  persons  occupying  it,  and  that  the 
inhabitants  wanted  it  to  worship  in.  Mr.  Lincoln  asked 
her  if  she  had  applied  to  the  post  surgeon  at  Alexandria 
to  give  it  up.  She  answered  that  she  had,  and  that  she 
could  do  nothing  with  him.  "  Well,  madam,"  said  he, 
"  that  is  an  end  of  it  then.  We  put  him  there  to  attend 
to  just  such  business,  and  it  is  reasonable  to  suppose  that 
he  knows  better  what  should  be  done  under  the  circum- 
stances than  I  do." 

More  for  the  purpose  of  testing  the  sentiments  of  this 
visitor  than  for  any  other  reason,  Mr.  Lincoln  said : 
"  You  say  you  live  in  Alexandria.  How  much  would 
you  be  willing  to  subscribe  towards  building  a  hospital 

She  replied :  "  You  may  be  aware,  Mr.  Lincoln,  that 
our  property  has  been  very  much  embarrassed  by  the 
war,  and  I  could  not  afford  to  give  much  for  such  a 

"Yes,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln,  "and  this  war  is  not  over 
yet ;  and  I  expect  we  shall  have  another  fight  soon,  and 
that  church  may  be  very  useful  as  a  hospital  in  which  to 
nurse  our  poor  wounded  soldiers.  It  is  my  candid 
opinion  that  God  wants  that  church  for  our  wounded  fel- 


lows.  So,  madam,  you  will  excuse  me.  I  can  do  nothing 
for  you." 

Afterward,  in  speaking  of  this  incident,  Mr.  Lincoln 
said  that  the  lady  as  a  representative  of  her  class  in 
Alexandria  reminded  him  of  the  story  of  the  young  man 
who  had  an  aged  father  and  mother  owning  considerable 
property.  The  young  man  being  an  only  son,  and  be- 
lieving that  the  old  people  had  lived  out  their  usefulness, 
assassinated  them  both.  He  was  accused,  tried,  and 
convicted  of  the  murder.  When  the  judge  came  to  pass 
sentence  upon  him,  and  called  upon  him  to  give  any 
reason  he  might  have  why  the  sentence  of  death  should 
not  be  passed  upon  him,  he  with  great  promptness  replied 
that  he  hoped  the  court  would  be  lenient  upon  him 
because  he  was  a  poor  orphan  ! 

Two  ladies  from  Tennessee  called  at  the  White  House 
one  day,  and  begged  Mr.  Lincoln  to  release  their  hus- 
bands, who  were  rebel  prisoners  at  Johnson's  Island. 
One  of  the  fair  petitioners  urged  as  a  reason  for  the 
liberation  of  her  husband  that  he  was  a  very  religious 
man ;  and  she  rang  the  changes  on  this  pious  plea  ad 
nauseam.  "Madam,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln,  "you  say  your 
husband  is  a  religious  man.  Perhaps  I  am  not  a  good 
judge  of  such  matters,  but  in  my  opinion  the  religion 
that  makes  men  rebel  and  fight  against  their  government 
is  not  the  genuine  article ;  nor  is  the  religion  the  right 
sort  which  reconciles  them  to  the  idea  of  eating  their 
bread  in  the  sweat  of  other  men's  faces.  It  is  not  the 
kind  to  get  to  heaven  on."  After  another  interview, 


however,  the  order  of  release  was  made,  —  Mr.  Lincoln 
remarking,  with  impressive  solemnity,  that  he  would 
expect  the  ladies  to  subdue  the  rebellious  spirit  of  their 
husbands,  and  to  that  end  he  thought  it  would  be  well 
to  reform  their  religion.  "  True  patriotism,"  said  he, 
"  is  better  than  the  wrong  kind  of  piety." 

This  is  in  keeping  with  a  significant  remark  made 
by  him  to  a  clergyman,  in  the  early  days  of  the  war. 
"Let  us  have  faith,  Mr.  President,"  said  the  minister, 
"that  the  Lord  is  on  our  side  in  this  great  struggle." 
Mr.  Lincoln  quietly  answered :  "  I  am  not  at  all  con- 
cerned about  that,  for  I  know  that  the  Lord  is  always 
on  the  side  of  the  right ;  but  it  is  my  constant  anxiety 
and  prayer  that  I  and  this  nation  may  be  on  the  Lord's 

Clergymen  were  always  welcomed  by  Mr.  Lincoln  at 
the  White  House  with  the  respectful  courtesy  due  to 
their  sacred  calling.  During  the  progress  of  the  war, 
and  especially  in  its  earlier  stages,  he  was  visited  almost 
daily  by  reverend  gentlemen,  sometimes  as  single  visi- 
tors, but  more  frequently  in  delegations.  He  was  a 
patient  listener  to  the  words  of  congratulation,  counsel, 
admonition,  exhortation,  and  sometimes  reproof,  which 
fell  from  the  lips  of  his  pious  callers,  and  generally  these 
interviews  were  entertaining  and  agreeable  on  both  sides. 
It  sometimes  happened,  however,  that  these  visits  were 
painfully  embarrassing  to  the  President.  One  delega- 
tion, for  example,  would  urge  with  importunate  zeal  a 
strict  observance  of  the  Sabbath  day  by  the  army ;  others 


would  insist  upon  a  speedy  proclamation  of  emancipa- 
tion ;  while  some  recounted  the  manifold  errors  of  com- 
manding generals,  complained  of  the  tardy  action  of  the 
government  in  critical  emergencies,  and  proposed  sweep- 
ing changes  of  policy  in  the  conduct  of  the  war. 

There  was  scarcely  a  day  when  there  were  not  several 
delegations  of  this  kind  to  visit  him,  and  a  great  deal  of 
the  President's  valuable  time  was  employed  in  this  unim- 
portant manner.  One  day  he  was  asked  by  one  of  these 
self-constituted  mentors,  how  many  men  the  rebels  had 
in  the  field?  Mr.  Lincoln  promptly  but  seriously  an- 
swered, "  Twelve  hundred  thousand,  according  to  the 
best  authority."  His  listeners  looked  aghast.  "  Good 
heavens  !  "  they  exclaimed  in  astonishment.  "  Yes,  sir ; 
twelve  hundred  thousand,  no  doubt  of  it.  You  see,  all 
of  our  generals  when  they  get  whipped  say  the  enemy 
outnumbers  them  from  three  or  five  to  one,  and  I  must 
believe  them.  We  have  four  hundred  thousand  men  in 
the  field,  and  three  times  four  make  twelve,  —  don't  you 
see  it?  It  is  as  plain  to  be  seen  as  the  nose  on  a  man's 
face ;  and  at  the  rate  things  are  now  going,  with  the 
great  amount  of  speculation  and  the  small  crop  of  fight- 
ing, it  will  take  a  long  time  to  overcome  twelve  hundred 
thousand  rebels  in  arms.  If  they  can  get  subsistence 
they  have  everything  else,  except  a  just  cause.  Yet  it  is 
said  that '  thrice  is  he  armed  that  hath  his  quarrel  just.' 
I  am  willing,  however,  to  risk  our  advantage  of  thrice  in 
justice  against  their  thrice  in  numbers." 

On  but  one  occasion  that  I  can  now  recall  was  Mr. 


Lincoln's  habitual  good  humor  visibly  overtaxed  by  these 
well-meaning  but  impatient  advisers.  A  committee  of 
clergymen  from  the  West  called  one  day;  and  the 
spokesman,  fired  with  uncontrollable  zeal,  poured  forth  a 
lecture  which  was  fault-finding  in  tone  from  beginning  to 
end.  It  was  delivered  with  much  energy,  and  the  short- 
comings of  the  Administration  were  rehearsed  with  pain- 
ful directness.  The  reverend  orator  made  some  keen 
thrusts,  which  evoked  hearty  applause  from  other  gentle- 
men of  the  committee. 

Mr.  Lincoln's  reply  was  a  notable  one.  With  unusual 
animation,  he  said  :  "  Gentlemen,  suppose  all  the  prop- 
erty you  possess  were  in  gold,  and  you  had  placed  it  in 
the  hands  of  Blondin  to  carry  across  the  Niagara  River 
on  a  rope.  With  slow,  cautious,  steady  step  he  walks 
the  rope,  bearing  your  all.  Would  you  shake  the  cable, 
and  keep  shouting  to  him,  <  Blondin !  stand  up  a  little 
straighter !  Blondin  !  stoop  a  little  more ;  go  a  little 
faster ;  lean  more  to  the  south  !  Now  lean  a  little  more 
to  the  north  ! '  —  would  that  be  your  behavior  in  such  an 
emergency  ?  No ;  you  would  hold  your  breath,  every 
one  of  you,  as  well  as  your  tongues.  You  would  keep 
your  hands  off  until  he  was  safe  on  the  other  side.  This 
government,  gentlemen,  is  carrying  an  immense  weight ; 
untold  treasures  are  in  its  hands.  The  persons  man- 
aging the  ship  of  state  in  this  storm  are  doing  the  best 
they  can.  Don't  worry  them  with  needless  warnings  and 
complaints.  Keep  silence,  be  patient,  and  we  will  get 
you  safe  across.  Good  day,  gentlemen.  I  have  other 
duties  pressing  upon  me  that  must  be  attended  to." 


This  incident  made  Mr.  Lincoln  a  little  shy  of 
preachers  for  a  time.  "  But  the  latch-string  is  out," 
said  he,  "  and  they  have  the  right  to  come  here  and 
preach  to  me  if  they  will  go  about  it  with  some  gentle- 
ness and  moderation."  He  firmly  believed  that  — 

"  To  speak  his  thoughts  is  every  freeman's  right, 
In  peace  and  war,  in  council  and  in  fight." 

And  from  this  republican  idea  he  would  suffer  not  the 
slightest  departure  while  he  was  President. 

Soon  after  the  affair  just  described,  a  man  of  remark- 
able appearance  presented  himself  at  the  White  House 
and  requested  an  audience  with  Mr.  Lincoln.  He  was 
a  large,  fleshy  man,  of  a  stern  but  homely  countenance, 
and  of  a  solemn  and  dignified  carriage.  He  was  dressed 
in  a  neatly-fitting  swallow- tailed  coat,  ruffled  shirt  of 
faultless  fabric,  white  cravat,  and  orange-colored  gloves. 
An  immense  fob  chain,  to  which  was  attached  a  huge 
topaz  seal,  swung  from  his  watch-pocket,  and  he  carried 
a  large  gold-headed  cane.  His  whole  appearance  was 
that  of  a  man  of  great  intellect,  of  stern  qualities,  of 
strong  piety,  and  of  dignified  uncomeliness.  He  looked 
in  every  way  like  a  minister  of  the  gospel,  whose  vigor- 
ous mind  was  bent  on  godly  themes,  and  whose  present 
purpose  was  to  discourse  to  Mr.  Lincoln  on  matters  of 
grave  import. 

"  I  am  in  for  it  now,"  thought  the  President.  "This 
pious  man  means  business.  He  is  no  common  preacher. 
Evidently  his  gloomy  mind  is  big  with  a  scheme  of  no 
ordinary  kind." 


The  ceremony  of  introduction  was  unusually  formal, 
and  the  few  words  of  conversation  that  followed  were 
constrained.  The  good  man  spoke  with  great  delibera- 
tion, as  if  feeling  his  way  cautiously;  but  the  evident 
restraint  which  his  manner  imposed  upon  Mr.  Lincoln 
seemed  not  to  please  him.  The  sequel  was  amazing. 

Quitting  his  chair,  the  portly  visitor  extended  his 
hand  to  Mr.  Lincoln,  saying  as  the  latter  rose  and  con- 
fronted him  :  "  Well,  Mr.  President,  I  have  no  business 
with  you,  none  whatever.  I  was  at  the  Chicago  conven- 
tion as  a  friend  of  Mr.  Seward.  I  have  watched  you 
narrowly  ever  since  your  inauguration,  and  I  called 
merely  to  pay  my  respects.  What  I  want  to  say  is  this  : 
I  think  you  are  doing  everything  for  the  good  of  the 
country  that  is  in  the  power  of  man  to  do.  You  are  on 
the  right  track.  As  one  of  your  constituents  I  now  say 
to  you,  do  in  future  as  you  damn  please,  and  I  will  sup- 
port you  !  "  This  was  spoken  with  tremendous  effect. 

"  Why,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln  in  great  astonishment,  "  I 
took  you  to  be  a  preacher.  I  thought  you  had  come 
here  to  tell  me  how  to  take  Richmond,"  and  he  again 
grasped  the  hand  of  his  strange  visitor.  Accurate  and 
penetrating  as  Mr.  Lincoln's  judgment  was  concerning 
men,  for  once  he  had  been  wholly  mistaken.  The  scene 
was  comical  in  the  extreme.  The  two  men  stood  gazing 
at  each  other.  A  smile  broke  from  the  lips  of  the 
solemn  wag  and  rippled  over  the  wide  expanse  of  his 
homely  face  like  sunlight  overspreading  a  continent,  and 
Mr.  Lincoln  was  convulsed  with  laughter. 


"Sit  down,  my  friend,"  said  the  President;  "sit  down. 
I  am  delighted  to  see  you.  Lunch  with  us  to-day.  Yes, 
you  must  stay  and  lunch  with  us,  my  friend,  for  I  have 
not  seen  enough  of  you  yet." 

The  stranger  did  lunch  with  Mr.  Lincoln  that  day. 
He  was  a  man  of  rare  and  racy  humor,  —  and  the  good 
cheer,  the  fun,  the  wit,  the  anecdotes  and  sparkling  con- 
versation that  enlivened  the  scene  was  the  work  of  two 
of  the  most  original  characters  ever  seen  in  the  White 

Shortly  after  the  election  of  Mr.  Lincoln,  I  talked 
with  him  earnestly  about  the  habits,  manners,  customs, 
and  style  of  the  people  with  whom  he  had  now  to 
associate,  and  the  difference  between  his  present  sur- 
roundings and  those  of  his  Illinois  life,  and  wherein  his 
plain,  practical,  common-sense  actions  differed  from  the 
polite,  graceful,  and  elegant  bearing  of  the  cultivated 
diplomat  and  cultured  gentlemen  of  polite  society. 
Thanks  to  his  confidence  in  my  friendship  and  his  affec- 
tionate forbearance  with  me,  he  would  listen  to  me  with 
the  most  attentive  interest,  always  evincing  the  strongest 
desire  to  correct  anything  in  which  he  failed  to  be  and 
appear  like  the  people  with  whom  he  acted ;  for  it  was 
one  of  the  cardinal  traits  of  his  character  to  be  like,  of, 
and  for  the  people,  whether  in  exalted  or  humble  life. 

A  New  Hampshire  lady  having  presented  to  him  a 
soft  felt  hat  of  her  own  manufacture,  he  was  at  a  loss 
what  to  do  on  his  arrival  in  Washington,  as  the  felt  hat 
seemed  unbecoming  for  a  President-elect.  He  there- 


fore  said  to  me  :  "  Hill,  this  hat  of  mine  won't  do.  It 
is  a  felt  one,  and  I  have  been  uncomfortable  in  it  ever 
since  we  left  Harrisburg.  Give  me  that  plug  of  yours, 
until  you  can  go  out  in  the  city  and  buy  one  either  for 
yourself  or  for  me.  I  think  your  hat  is  about  the  style. 
I  may  have  to  do  some  trotting  around  soon,  and  if  I 
can't  feel  natural  with  a  different  hat,  I  may  at  least  look 
respectable  in  it." 

I  went  to  a  store  near  by  and  purchased  a  hat,  and  by 
the  ironing  process  soon  had  it  shaped  to  my  satisfaction ; 
and  I  must  say  that  when  Mr.  Lincoln  put  it  on,  he 
looked  more  presentable  and  more  like  a  President  than 
I  had  ever  seen  him.  He  had  very  defective  taste  in 
the  choice  of  hats,  the  item  of  dress  that  does  more 
than  any  other  for  the  improvement  of  one's  personal 

After  the  hat  reform,  I  think  Mr.  Lincoln  still  suffered 
much  annoyance  from  the  tyranny  of  fashion  in  the 
matter  of  gloves.  His  hat  for  years  served  the  double 
purpose  of  an  ornamental  head-gear  and  a  kind  of  office 
or  receptacle  for  his  private  papers  and  memoranda. 
But  the  necessity  to  wear  gloves  he  regarded  as  an  af- 
fliction, a  violation  of  the  statute  against  "cruelty  to 
animals."  Many  amusing  stories  could  be  told  of  Mr. 
Lincoln  and  his  gloves.  At  about  the  time  of  his  third 
reception  he  had  on  a  tight-fitting  pair  of  white  kids, 
which  he  had  with  difficulty  got  on.  He  saw  approach- 
ing in  the  distance  an  old  Illinois  friend  named  Simpson, 
whom  he  welcomed  with  a  genuine  Sangamon  County 



shake,  which  resulted  in  bursting  his  white-kid  glove 
with  an  audible  sound.  Then  raising  his  brawny  hand 
up  before  him,  looking  at  it  with  an  indescribable  ex- 
pression, he  said,  —  while  the  whole  procession  was 
checked,  witnessing  this  scene,  —  "  Well,  my  old  friend, 
this  is  a  general  bustification.  You  and  I  were  never 
intended  to  wear  these  things.  If  they  were  stronger 
they  might  do  well  enough  to  keep  out  the  cold,  but 
they  are  a  failure  to  shake  hands  with  between  old 
friends  like  us.  Stand  aside,  Captain,  and  I'll  see  you 
shortly."  The  procession  then  advanced.  Simpson 
stood  aside,  and  after  the  unwelcome  pageantry  was  ter- 
minated, he  rejoined  his  old  Illinois  friend  in  familiar 

Mr.  Lincoln  was  always  delighted  to  see  his  Western 
friends,  and  always  gave  them  a  cordial  welcome ;  and 
when  the  proprieties  justified  it,  he  met  them  on  the  old 
familiar  footing,  entertaining  them  with  anecdotes  in 
unrestrained,  free-and-easy  conversation.  He  never 
spoke  of  himself  as  President,  —  always  referred  to  his 
office  as  "  this  place ;  "  would  often  say  to  an  old  friend, 
"Call  me  Lincoln:  'Mr.  President'  is  entirely  too 
formal  for  us."  Shortly  after  the  first  inauguration,  an 
old  and  respected  friend  accompanied  by  his  wife 
visited  Washington,  and  as  a  matter  of  course  paid  their 
respects  to  the  President  and  his  family,  having  been  on 
intimate  social  terms  with  them  for  many  years.  It  was 
proposed  that  at  a  certain  time  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Lincoln 
should  call  at  the  hotel  where  they  were  stopping  and 


take  them  out  for  a  ride  in  the  Presidential  carriage, — 
a  gorgeous  and  grandly  caparisoned  coach,  the  like  of 
which  the  visitors  had  seldom  seen  before  that  time.  As 
close  as  the  intimacy  was,  the  two  men  had  never  seen 
each  other  with  gloves  on  in  their  lives,  except  as  a 
protection  from  the  cold.  Both  gentlemen,  realizing 
the  propriety  of  their  use  in  the  changed  condition  of 
things,  discussed  the  matter  with  their  respective  wives, 
who  decided  that  gloves  were  the  proper  things.  Mr. 
Lincoln  reluctantly  yielded  to  this  decree,  and  placed 
his  in  his  pocket,  to  be  used  or  not  according  to  circum- 
stances. On  arriving  at  the  hotel  he  found  his  friend, 
who  doubtless  had  yielded  to  his  wife's  persuasion, 
gloved  in  the  most  approved  style.  The  friend,  taking 
in  the  situation,  was  hardly  seated  in  the  carriage  when 
he  began  to  take  off  the  clinging  kids ;  and  at  the  same 
time  Mr.  Lincoln  began  to  draw  his  on,  —  seeing  which 
they  both  burst  into  a  hearty  laugh,  when  Mr.  Lincoln 
exclaimed,  "  Oh,  why  should  the  spirit  of  mortals  be 
proud?"  Then  he  added,  "I  suppose  it  is  polite  to 
wear  these  things,  but  it  is  positively  uncomfortable  for 
me  to  do  so.  Let  us  put  them  in  our  pockets ;  that  is 
the  best  place  for  them,  and  we  shall  be  able  to  act  more 
like  folks  in  our  bare  hands."  After  this  the  ride  was 
as  enjoyable  as  any  one  they  had  ever  taken  in  early 
days  in  a  lumber  wagon  over  the  prairies  of  Illinois. 

An  instance  showing  that  the  deserving  low-born  com- 
manded Mr.  Lincoln's  respect  and  consideration  as  well 
.as  the  high-born  and  distinguished,  may  be  found  in 


what  he  said  on  one  occasion  to  an  Austrian  count 
during  the  rebellion.  The  Austrian  minister  to  this 
government  introduced  to  the  President  a  count,  subject 
of  the  Austrian  government,  who  was  desirous  of  obtain- 
ing a  position  in  the  American  army.  Being  introduced 
by  the  accredited  minister  of  Austria,  he  required  no 
further  recommendation  to  secure  the  appointment ;  but 
fearing  that  his  importance  might  not  be  fully  appreciated 
by  the  republican  President,  the  count  was  particular 
in  impressing  the  fact  upon  him  that  he  bore  that  title, 
and  that  his  family  was  ancient  and  highly  respectable. 
Mr.  Lincoln  listened  with  attention,  until  this  unneces- 
sary commendation  was  mentioned;  then,  with  a  merry 
twinkle  in  his  eye,  he  tapped  the  aristocratic  sprig  of 
hereditary  nobility  on  the  shoulder  in  the  most  fatherly 
way,  as  if  the  gentleman  had  made  a  confession  of  some 
unfortunate  circumstance  connected  with  his  lineage,  for 
which  he  was  in  no  way  responsible,  saying,  "  Never 
mind,  you  shall  be  treated  with  just  as  much  considera- 
tion for  all  that.  I  will  see  to  it  that  your  bearing  a 
title  sha'n't  hurt  you." 



MR.  LINCOLN  was  one  of  the  bravest  men  that 
ever  lived,  and  one  of  the  gentlest.  The  in- 
stances in  his  earlier  career  in  which  he  put  his  life  in 
peril  to  prevent  injury  to  another  are  very  numerous. 
I  have  often  thought  that  his  interposition  in  behalf  of 
the  friendless  Indian  who  wandered  into  camp  during 
the  Black  Hawk  war  and  was  about  to  be  murdered  by 
the  troops,  was  an  act  of  chivalry  unsurpassed  in  the 
whole  story  of  knighthood.  So  in  the  rough  days  of 
Gentryville  and  New  Salem,  he  was  always  on  the  side 
of  the  weak  and  the  undefended  ;  always  daring  against 
the  bully;  always  brave  and  tender;  always  invoking 
peace  and  good-will,  except  where  they  could  be  had 
only  by  dishonor.  He  could  not  endure  to  witness  the 
needless  suffering  even  of  a  brute.  When  riding  once 
with  a  company  of  young  ladies  and  gentlemen,  dressed 
up  in  his  best,  he  sprang  from  his  horse  and  released  a 
pig  which  was  fast  in  a  fence  and  squealing  in  pain, 
because,  as  he  said  in  his  homely  way,  the  misery  of  the 
poor  pig  was  more  than  he  could  bear. 

Hon.  I.  N.  Arnold  tells  of  an  incident  in  the  early 
days  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  practice  at  the  Springfield  bar. 


He  was  coming  home  from  a  neighboring  county  seat, 
with  a  party  of  lawyers,  riding  two  by  two  along  a  country 
lane.  Lincoln  and  a  comrade  brought  up  the  rear,  and 
when  the  others  stopped  to  water  their  horses  his  comrade 
came  up  alone.  "Where  is  Lincoln?  "  was  the  inquiry. 
"Oh,"  replied  the  friend,  "when  I  saw  him  last  he 
had  caught  two  young  birds  which  the  wind  had  blown 
out  of  their  nest,  and  was  hunting  up  the  nest  to  put 
them  back  into  it" 

How  instinctively  Mr.  Lincoln  turned  from  the  delib- 
erate, though  lawful  and  necessary,  shedding  of  blood 
during  the  war  is  well  known.  His  Secretaries  of  War, 
his  Judge-Advocate  General,  and  generals  in  the  field, 
were  often  put  to  their  wits'  end  to  maintain  the  disci- 
pline of  the  army  against  this  constant  softness  of  the 
President's  good  heart. 

Upward  of  twenty  deserters  were  sentenced  at  one 
time  to  be  shot.  The  warrants  for  their  execution  were 
sent  to  Mr.  Lincoln  for  his  approval ;  but  he  refused  to 
sign  them.  The  commanding  general  to  whose  corps 
the  condemned  men  belonged  was  indignant.  He 
hurried  to  Washington.  Mr.  Lincoln  had  listened  to 
moving  petitions  for  mercy  from  humane  persons  who, 
like  himself,  were  shocked  at  the  idea  of  the  cold- 
blooded execution  of  more  than  a  score  of  misguided 
men.  His  resolution  was  fixed,  but  his  rule  was  to 
see  every  man  who  had  business  with  him.  The  irate 
commander,  therefore,  was  admitted  into  Mr.  Lincoln's 
private  office.  With  soldierly  bluntness  he  told  the 

If  IS   TENDERNESS.  1 03 

President  that  mercy  to  the  few  was  cruelty  to  the 
many;  that  Executive  clemency  in  such  a  case  would 
be  a  blow  at  military  discipline ;  and  that  unless  the 
condemned  men  were  made  examples  of,  the  army 
itself  would  be  in  danger.  "General,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln, 
"there  are  too  many  weeping  widows  in  the  United 
States  now.  For  God's  sake  don't  ask  me  to  add  to  the 
number;  for,  I  tell  you  plainly,  /  won't  do  it /"  He 
believed  that  kind  words  were  better  for  the  poor  fellows 
than  cold  lead;  and  the  sequel  showed  that  he  was 

Death  warrants  :  execution  of  unfortunate  soldiers,  — 
how  he  dreaded  and  detested  them,  and  longed  to 
restore  every  unfortunate  man  under  sentence  to  life  and 
honor  in  his  country's  service  !  I  had  personally  an 
almost  unlimited  experience  with  him  in  this  class  of 
cases,  and  could  fill  volumes  with  anecdotes  exhibiting 
this  trait  in  the  most  touching  light,  though  the  names  of 
the  persons  concerned  —  disgraced  soldiers,  prisoners  of 
war,  civilian  spies  —  would  hardly  be  recognized  by  the 
readers  of  this  generation. 

But  it  was  the  havoc  of  the  war,  the  sacrifice  of  patriotic 
lives,  the  flow  of  human  blood,  the  mangling  of  precious 
limbs  in  the  great  Union  host  that  shocked  him  most,  — 
indeed,  on  some  occasions  shocked  him  almost  beyond 
his  capacity  to  control  either  his  judgment  or  his  feelings. 
This  was  especially  the  case  when  the  noble  victims  were 
of  his  own  acquaintance,  or  of  the  narrower  circle  of  his 
familiar  friends;  and  then  he  seemed  for  the  moment 


possessed  of  a  sense  of  personal  responsibility  for  their 
individual  fate,  which  was  at  once  most  unreasonable  and 
most  pitiful.  Of  this  latter  class  were  many  of  the  most 
gallant  men  of  Illinois  and  Indiana,  who  fell  dead  or 
cruelly  wounded  in  the  early  battles  of  the  Southwest. 

The  "  Black  boys  "  were  notable  among  the  multitude 
of  eager  youths  who  rushed  to  the  field  at  the  first  call 
to  arms.  Their  mother,,  the  widow  of  a  learned  Pres- 
byterian minister,  had  married  Dr.  Fithian,  of  Danville, 
111. ;  and  the  relations  between  Dr.  Fithian  and  his  step- 
sons were  of  the  tenderest  paternal  nature.  His  pride 
in  them  and  his  devotion  to  them  was  the  theme  of 
the  country  side.  Mr.  Lincoln  knew  them  well.  In  his 
frequent  visits  to  Danville  on  the  circuit  he  seldom 
failed  to  be  the  guest  of  their  mother  and  the  excellent 
Dr.  Fithian.  They  were  studious  and  industrious  boys, 
earning  with  their  own  hands  at  least  a  part  of  the 
money  required  for  their  education.  When  Sumter 
was  fired  upon  they  were  at  Wabash  College,  Crawfords- 
ville,  Ind.,  and  immediately  enlisted  as  privates  in  the 
Crawfordsville  Guards.  Their  career  in  the  field  needs 
no  recital  here.  Mr.  Lincoln  watched  it  with  intense 
interest.  At  the  battle  of  Pea  Ridge,  having  reached 
high  rank,  —  each  promotion  for  some  special  act  of 
gallantry, — they  both  fell  desperately  wounded  within 
five  minutes  of  each  other,  and  only  thirty  yards  apart. 
Dr.  Fithian  hastened  to  them  with  a  father's  solicitude, 
and  nursed  them  back  to  life,  through  fearful  vicissitudes. 
They  had  scarcely  returned  to  the  army  when  the  elder, 


John  Charles  Black,  again  fell,  terribly  mangled,  at 
Prairie  Grove.  He  was  hopelessly  shattered  ;  yet  he 
remained  in  the  service  and  at  the  front  until  the  last 
gun  was  fired,  and  is  now  among  the  badly  wounded  sur- 
vivors of  the  war.  I  shall  never  forget  the  scene,  when  I 
took  to  Mr.  Lincoln  a  letter  written  by  Dr.  Fithian  to 
me,  describing  the  condition  of  the  "Black  boys,"  and 
expressing  his  fears  that  they  could  not  live.  Mr. 
Lincoln  read  it,  and  broke  into  tears  :  "  Here,  now,"  he 
cried,  "  are  these  dear,  brave  boys  killed  in  this  cursed 
war !  My  God,  my  God  !  It  is  too  bad  !  They  worked 
hard  to  earn  money  enough  to  educate  themselves,  and 
this  is  the  end  !  I  loved  them  as  if  they  were  my  own." 
I  took  his  directions  about  my  reply  to  Dr.  Fithian,  and 
left  him  in  one  of  the  saddest  moods  in  which  I  ever  saw 
him,  burdened  with  an  unreasonable  sense  of  personal 
responsibility  for  the  lives  of  these  gallant  men. 

Lieut.-Colonel  William  McCullough,  of  whom  a  very 
eminent  gentleman  said  on  a  most  solemn  occasion, 
"  He  was  the  most  thoroughly  courageous  man  I  have 
ever  known,"  fell  leading  a  hopeless  charge  in  Missis- 
sippi. He  had  entered  the  service  at  the  age  of  fifty,  with 
one  arm  and  one  eye.  He  had  been  clerk  of  McLean 
County  Circuit  Court,  111.,  for  twenty  years,  and  Mr. 
Lincoln  knew  him  thoroughly.  His  death  affected  the 
President  profoundly,  and  he  wrote  to  the  Colonel's 
daughter,  now  Mrs.  Frank  D.  Orme,  the  following  peculiar 
letter  of  condolence  :  — • 


Dec.  23,  1862. 

DEAR  FANNY,  —  It  is  with  deep  regret  that  I  learn  of  the 
death  of  your  kind  and  brave  father,  and  especially  that  it  is 
affecting  your  young  heart  beyond  what  is  common  in  such 
cases.  In  this  sad  world  of  ours  sorrow  comes  to  all,  and 
to  the  young  it  comes  with  bitterer  agony  because  it  takes 
them  unawares.  The  older  have  learned  ever  to  expect  it. 
I  am  anxious  to  afford  some  alleviation  of  your  present 
distress.  Perfect  relief  is  not  possible,  except  with  time. 
You  cannot  now  realize  that  you  will  ever  feel  better.  Is 
not  this  so  ?  And  yet  it  is  a  mistake.  You  are  sure  to  be 
happy  again.  To  know  this,  which  is  certainly  true,  will 
make  you  some  less  miserable  now.  I  have  had  experience 
enough  to  know  what  I  say,  and  you  need  only  to  believe  it 
to  feel  better  at  once.  The  memory  of  your  dear  father, 
instead  of  an  agony,  will  yet  be  a  sad,  sweet  feeling  in  your 
heart,  of  a  purer  and  holier  sort  than  you  have  known 

Please  present  my  kind  regards  to  your  afflicted  mother. 
Your  sincere  friend, 


Blooniington,  111. 

Gen.  W.  H.  L.  Wallace,  who  fell  at  Shiloh,  was  a  friend 
whom  Lincoln  held  in  the  tenderest  regard.  He  knew 
his  character  as  a  man  and  his  inestimable  value  as  a 
soldier  quite  as  well  as  they  are  now  known  to  the  coun- 
try. Those  who  have  read  General  Grant's  "  Memoirs  " 
will  understand  from  that  great  general's  estimate  of  him 
what  was  the  loss  of  the  federal  service  in  the  untimely 
death  of  Wallace.  Mr.  Lincoln  felt  it  bitterly  and 
deeply.  But  his  was  a  public  and  a  private  grief  united, 


and  his  lamentations  were  touching  to  those  who  heard 
them,  as  I  did.  The  following  account  of  General 
Wallace's  death  is  taken  from  an  eloquent  memorial 
address,  by  the  Hon.  Leonard  Swett  in  the  United 
States  Circuit  Court,  upon  our  common  friend  the  late 
Col.  T.  Lyle  Dickey,  who  was  the  father-in-law  of 
Wallace  :  — 

"  Mrs.  Gen.  W.  H.  L.  Wallace,  who  was  Judge  Dickey's 
eldest  daughter,  as  the  battle  of  Shiloh  approached, 
became  impressed  with  the  sense  of  impending  danger 
to  her  husband,  then  with  Grant's  army.  This  impres- 
sion haunted  her  until  she  could  stand  it  no  longer ;  and 
in  one  of  the  most  severe  storms  of  the  season,  at  twelve 
o'clock  at  night,  she  started  alone  for  the  army  where 
her  husband  was.  At  Cairo  she  was  told  that  no  women 
could  be  permitted  to  go  up  the  Tennessee  River.  But 
affection  has  a  persistency  which  will  not  be  denied. 
Mrs.  Wallace  finding  a  party  bearing  a  flag  to  the 
Eleventh  Infantry  from  the  ladies  of  Ottawa,  to  be  used 
instead  of  their  old  one,  which  had  been  riddled  and 
was  battle-worn,  got  herself  substituted  to  carry  that  flag : 
and  thus  with  one  expedient  and  another  she  finally 
reached  Shiloh,  six  hundred  miles  from  home  and  three 
hundred  through  a  hostile  country,  and  through  the  more 
hostile  guards  of  our  own  forces. 

"She  arrived  on  Sunday,  the  6th  of  April,  1862,  when 
the  great  storm-centre  of  that  battle  was  at  its  height, 
and  in  time  to  receive  her  husband  as  he  was  borne 
from  the  field  terribly  mangled  by  a  shot  in  the  head, 


which  he  had  received  while  endeavoring  to  stay  the 
retreat  of  our  army  as  it  was  falling  back  to  the  banks  o| 
the  river  on  that  memorable  Sunday,  the  first  day  of  that 
bloody  battle.  She  arrived  in  time  to  recognize  him, 
and  be  recognized  by  him ;  and  a  few  days  afterward) 
saying,  '  We  shall  meet  again  in  heaven,'  he  died  in  the 
arms  of  that  devoted  wife,  surrounded  by  Judge  Dickey 
and  his  sons  and  the  brothers  of  General  Wallace." 

These  are  but  a  few  cases  of  death  and  mutilation  in 
the  military  service  cited  to  show  how  completely  Mr. 
Lincoln  shared  the  sufferings  of  our  soldiers.  It  was 
with  a  weight  of  singular  personal  responsibility  that 
some  of  these  misfortunes  and  sorrows  seemed  to  crowd 
upon  his  sympathetic  heart. 

Soon  after  his  election  in  1864,  when  any  other  man 
would  have  been  carried  away  on  the  tide  of  triumph  and 
would  have  had  little  thought  for  the  sorrows  of  a  stranger, 
he  found  time  to  write  the  following  letter  :  — 

EXECUTIVE  MANSION,  Nov.  21,  1864. 

DEAR  MADAM,  —  I  have  been  shown,  in  the  files  of  the 
War  Department,  a  statement  of  the  Adjutant-General  of 
Massachusetts,  that  you  are  the  mother  of  five  sons  who 
have  died  gloriously  on  the  field  of  battle.  I  feel  how  weak 
and  fruitless  must  be  any  words  of  mine  which  should 
attempt  to  beguile  you  from  the  grief  of  a  loss  so  over- 
whelming. But  I  cannot  refrain  from  tendering  to  you  the 
consolation  that  may  be  found  in  the  thanks  of  the  republic 
they  died  to  save.  I  pray  that  our  Heavenly  Father  may 
assuage  the  anguish  of  your  bereavement,  and  leave  you 
only  the  cherished  memory  of  the  loved  and  lost  and  the 


solemn  pride  that  must  be  yours  to  have  laid  so  costly  a 
sacrifice  upon  the  altar  of  freedom. 

Yours  very  sincerely  and  respectfully, 


Once  when  Mr.  Lincoln  had  released  a  prisoner  at  the 
request  of  his  mother  she,  in  expressing  her  gratitude, 
said,  "  Good-bye,  Mr.  Lincoln.  I  shall  probably  never  see 
you  again  till  we  meet  in  heaven."  She  had  the  Presi- 
dent's hand  in  hers,  and  he  was  deeply  moved.  He  in- 
stantly took  her  hand  in  both  of  his  and,  following  her  to 
the  door,  said,  "  I  am  afraid  with  all  my  troubles  I  shall 
never  get  to  the  resting  place  you  speak  of,  but  if  I  do  I 
am  sure  I  shall  find  you.  Your  wish  that  you  will  meet 
me  there  has  fully  paid  for  all  I  have  done  for  you." 

Perhaps  none  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  ambitions  were  more 
fully  realized  than  the  wish  expressed  to  Joshua  F.  Speed  : 
Die  when  I  may,  I  want  it  said  of  me  by  those  who  know 
me  best  that  I  always  plucked  a  thistle  and  planted  a 
flower  where  I  thought  a  flower  would  grow. 



/"TVHAT  "  every  man  has  within  him  his  own  Patmos," 
-*-  Victor  Hugo  was  not  far  wrong  in  declaring. 
"  Revery,"  says  the  great  French  thinker,  "fixes  its  gaze 
upon  the  shadow  until  there  issues  from  it  light.  Some 
power  that  is  very  high  has  ordained  it  thus."  Mr.  Lin- 
coln had  his  Patmos,  his  "  kinship  with  the  shades ;  " 
and  this  is,  perhaps,  the  strangest  feature  of  his  charac- 
ter. That  his  intellect  was  mighty  and  of  exquisite 
mould,  that  it  was  of  a  severely  logical  cast,  and  that  his 
reasoning  powers  were  employed  in  the  main  on  matters 
eminently  practical,  all  men  know  who  know  anything 
about  the  real  Lincoln.  The  father  of  modern  philoso- 
phy tells  us  that  "  the  master  of  superstition  is  the  peo- 
ple ;  and  in  all  superstitions  wise  men  follow  fools." 
Lord  Bacon,  however,  was  not  unwilling  to  believe  that 
storms  might  be  dispersed  by  the  ringing  of  bells,  —  a 
superstition  that  is  not  yet  wholly  dead,  even  in  countries 
most  distinguished  by  modem  enlightenment.  Those 
whom  the  great  Englishman  designated  "  masters  of 
superstition,  —  fools,"  were  the  common  people  whose 
collective  wisdom  Mr.  Lincoln  esteemed  above  the  high- 
est gifts  of  cultured  men.  That  the  Patmos  of  the  plain 


people,  as  Mr.  Lincoln  called  them,  was  his  in  a  large 
measure  he  freely  acknowledged ;  and  this  peculiarity  of 
his  nature  is  shown  in  his  strange  dreams  and  presenti- 
ments, which  sometimes  elated  and  sometimes  disturbed 
him  in  a  very  astonishing  degree. 

From  early  youth  he  seemed  conscious  of  a  high  mis- 
sion. Long  before  his  admission  to  the  bar,  or  his 
entrance  into  politics,  he  believed  that  he  was  destined 
to  rise  to  a  great  height ;  that  from  a  lofty  station  to 
which  he  should  be  called  he  would  be  able  to  confer 
lasting  benefits  on  his  fellow-men.  He  believed  also 
that  from  a  lofty  station  he  should  fall.  It  was  a  vision 
of  grandeur  and  of  gloom  which  was  confirmed  in  his 
mind  by  the  dreams  of  his  childhood,  of  his  youthful 
days,  and  of  his  maturer  years.  The  plain  people  with 
whom  his  life  was  spent,  and  with  whom  he  was  in 
cordial  sympathy,  believed  also  in  the  marvellous  as 
revealed  in  presentiments  and  dreams ;  and  so  Mr.  Lin- 
coln drifted  on  through  years  of  toil  and  exceptional 
hardship,  struggling  with  a  noble  spirit  for  honest  pro- 
motion,—  meditative,  aspiring,  certain  of  his  star,  but 
appalled  at  times  by  its  malignant  aspect.  Many  times 
prior  to  his  election  to  the  Presidency  he  was  both  elated 
and  alarmed  by  what  seemed  to  him  a  rent  in  the  veil 
which  hides  from  mortal  view  what  the  future  holds. 
He  saw,  or  thought  he  saw,  a  vision  of  glory  and  of 
blood,  himself  the  central  figure  in  a  scene  which  his 
fancy  transformed  from  giddy  enchantment  to  the  most 
appalling  tragedy. 


On  the  day  of  his  renomination  at  Baltimore,  Mr. 
Lincoln  was  engaged  at  the  War  Department  in  constant 
telegraphic  communication  with  General  Grant,  who  was 
then  in  front  of  Richmond.  Throughout  the  day  he 
seemed  wholly  unconscious  that  anything  was  going  on 
at  Baltimore  in  which  his  interests  were  in  any  way  con- 
cerned. At  luncheon  time  he  went  to  the  White  House, 
swallowed  a  hasty  lunch,  and  without  entering  his  private 
office  hurried  back  to  the  War  Office.  On  his  arrival  at 
the  War  Department  the  first  dispatch  that  was  shown 
him  announced  the  nomination  of  Andrew  Johnson  for 

"  This  is  strange,"  said  he,  reflectively ;  "  I  thought  it 
was  usual  to  nominate  the  candidate  for  President  first." 

His  informant  was  astonished.  "  Mr.  President,"  said 
he,  "  have  you  not  heard  of  your  own  renomination  ?  It 
was  telegraphed  to  you  at  the  White  House  two  hours 

Mr.  Lincoln  had  not  seen  the  dispatch,  had  made  no 
inquiry  about  it,  had  not  even  thought  about  it.  On 
reflection,  he  attached  great  importance  to  this  singular 
occurrence.  It  reminded  him,  he  said,  of  an  ominous 
incident  of  mysterious  character  which  occurred  just 
after  his  election  in  1860.  It  was  the  double  image  of 
himself  in  a  looking-glass,  which  he  saw  while  lying  on  a 
lounge  in  his  own  chamber  at  Springfield.  There  was 
Abraham  Lincoln's  face  reflecting  the  full  glow  of  health 
and  hopeful  life ;  and  in  the  same  mirror,  at  the  same 
moment  of  time,  was  the  face  of  Abraham  Lincoln  show- 


ing  a  ghostly  paleness.  On  trying  the  experiment  at 
other  times,  as  confirmatory  tests,  the  illusion  reappeared, 
and  then  vanished  as  before. 

Mr.  Lincoln  more  than  once  told  me  that  he  could 
not  explain  this  phenomenon ;  that  he  had  tried  to 
reproduce  the  double  reflection  at  the  Executive  Man- 
sion, but  without  success ;  that  it  had  worried  him  not  a 
little  ;  and  that  the  mystery  had  its  meaning,  which  was 
clear  enough  to  him.  To  his  mind  the  illusion  was  a 
sign,  —  the  life-like  image  betokening  a  safe  passage 
through  his  first  term  as  President ;  the  ghostly  one, 
that  death  would  overtake  him  before  the  close  of  the 
second.  Wholly  unmindful  of  the  events  happening  at 
Baltimore,  which  would  have  engrossed  the  thoughts  of 
any  other  statesman  in  his  place  that  day,  —  forgetful,  in 
fact,  of  all  earthly  things  except  the  tremendous  events 
of  the  war,  —  this  circumstance,  on  reflection,  he  wove 
into  a  volume  of  prophecy,  a  sure  presage  of  his  re-elec- 
tion. His  mind  then  instantly  travelled  back  to  the 
autumn  of  1860  ;  and  the  vanished  wraith  —  the  ghostly 
face  in  the  mirror,  mocking  its  healthy  and  hopeful 
fellow  —  told  him  plainly  that  although  certain  of  re-elec- 
tion to  the  exalted  office  he  then  held,  he  would  surely 
hear  the  fatal  summons  from  the  silent  shore  during  his 
second  term.  With  that  firm  conviction,  which  no 
philosophy  could  shake,  Mr.  Lincoln  moved  on  through 
a  maze  of  mighty  events,  calmly  awaiting  the  inevitable 
hour  of  his  fall  by  a  murderous  hand. 

How,  it  may  be  asked,  could  he  make  life  tolerable, 


burdened  as  he  was  with  that  portentous  horror  which 
though  visionary,  and  of  trifling  import  in  our  eyes,  was 
by  his  interpretation  a  premonition  of  impending  doom  ? 
I  answer  in  a  word  :  His  sense  of  duty  to  his  country; 
his  belief  that  "  the  inevitable  "  is  right ;  and  his  innate 
and  irrepressible  humor. 

But  the  most  startling  incident  in  the  life  of  Mr.  Lin- 
coln was  a  dream  he  had  only  a  few  days  before  his 
assassination.  To  him  it  was  a  thing  of  deadly  import, 
and  certainly  no  vision  was  ever  fashioned  more  exactly 
like  a  dread  reality.  Coupled  with  other  dreams,  with 
the  mirror-scene  and  with  other  incidents,  there  was  some- 
thing about  it  so  amazingly  real,  so  true  to  the  actual 
tragedy  which  occurred  soon  after,  that  more  than  mortal 
strength  and  wisdom  would  have  been  required  to  let  it 
pass  without  a  shudder  or  a  pang.  After  worrying  over 
it  for  some  days,  Mr.  Lincoln  seemed  no  longer  able  to 
keep  the  secret.  I  give  it  as  nearly  in  his  own  words  as 
I  can,  from  notes  which  I  made  immediately  after  its 
recital.  There  were  only  two  or  three  persons  present. 
The  President  was  in  a  melancholy,  meditative  mood, 
and  had  been  silent  for  some  time.  Mrs.  Lincoln,  who 
was  present,  rallied  him  on  his  solemn  visage  and  want 
of  spirit.  This  seemed  to  arouse  him,  and  without  seem- 
ing to  notice  her  sally  he  said,  in  slow  and  measured 
tones : — 

"It  seems  strange  how  much  there  is  in  the  Bible 
about  dreams.  There  are,  I  think,  some  sixteen  chap- 
ters in  the  Old  Testament  and  four  or  five  in  the  New 


in  which  dreams  are  mentioned ;  and  there  are  many 
other  passages  scattered  throughout  the  book  which  refer 
to  visions.  If  we  believe  the  Bible,  we  must  accept  the 
fact  that  in  the  old  days  God  and  His  angels  came  to 
men  in  their  sleep  and  made  themselves  known  in 
dreams.  Nowadays  dreams  are  regarded  as  very  foolish, 
and  are  seldom  told,  except  by  old  women  and  by  young 
men  and  maidens  in  love." 

Mrs.  Lincoln  here  remarked  :  "  Why,  you  look  dread- 
fully solemn ;  do  you  believe  in  dreams?  " 

"  I  can't  say  that  I  do,"  returned  Mr.  Lincoln ;  "  but  I 
had  one  the  other  night  which  has  haunted  me  ever 
since.  After  it  occurred,  the  first  time  I  opened  the 
Bible,  strange  as  it  may  appear,  it  was  at  the  twenty- 
eighth  chapter  of  Genesis,  which  relates  the  wonderful 
dream  Jacob  had.  I  turned  to  other  passages,  and 
seemed  to  encounter  a  dream  or  a  vision  wherever  I 
looked.  I  kept  on  turning  the  leaves  of  the  old  book, 
and  everywhere  my  eye  fell  upon  passages  recording 
matters  strangely  in  keeping  with  my  own  thoughts,  — 
supernatural  visitations,  dreams,  visions,  etc." 

He  now  looked  so  serious  and  disturbed  that  Mrs. 
Lincoln  exclaimed  :  "  You  frighten  me  !  What  is  the 

"  I  am  afraid,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln,  observing  the  effect 
his  words  had  upon  his  wife,  "  that  I  have  done  wrong 
to  mention  the  subject  at  all ;  but  somehow  the  thing 
has  got  possession  of  me,  and,  like  Banquo's  ghost,  it 
will  not  down." 


This  only  inflamed  Mrs.  Lincoln's  curiosity  the  more, 
and  while  bravely  disclaiming  any  belief  in  dreams,  she 
strongly  urged  him  to  tell  the  dream  which  seemed  to 
have  such  a  hold  upon  him,  being  seconded  in  this  by 
another  listener.  Mr.  Lincoln  hesitated,  but  at  length 
commenced  very  deliberately,  his  brow  overcast  with  a 
shade  of  melancholy. 

"  About  ten  days  ago,"  said  he,  "  I  retired  very  late. 
1  had  been  up  waiting  for  important  dispatches  from  the 
front.  I  could  not  have  been  long  in  bed  when  I  fell 
into  a  slumber,  for  I  was  weary.  I  soon  began  to  dream. 
There  seemed  to  be  a  death-like  stillness  about  me. 
Then  I  heard  subdued  sobs,  as  if  a  number  of  people 
were  weeping.  I  thought  I  left  my  bed  and  wandered 
downstairs.  There  the  silence  was  broken  by  the  same 
pitiful  sobbing,  but  the  mourners  were  invisible.  I  went 
from  room  to  room ;  no  living  person  was  in  sight,  but 
the  same  mournful  sounds  of  distress  met  me  as  I  passed 
along.  It  was  light  in  all  the  rooms ;  every  object  was 
familiar  to  me ;  but  where  were  all  the  people  who  were 
grieving  as  if  their  hearts  would  break?  I  was  puzzled 
and  alarmed.  What  could  be  the  meaning  of  all  this? 
Determined  to  find  the  cause  of  a  state  of  things  so  mys- 
terious and  so  shocking,  I  kept  on  until  I  arrived  at  the 
East  Room,  which  I  entered.  There  I  met  with  a  sick- 
ening surprise.  Before  me  was  a  catafalque,  on  which 
rested  a  corpse  wrapped  in  funeral  vestments.  Around 
it  were  stationed  soldiers  who  were  acting  as  guards ; 
and  there  was  a  throng  of  people,  some  gazing  mourn- 


fully  upon  the  corpse,  whose  face  was  covered,  others 
weeping  pitifully.  'Who  is  dead  in  the  White  House?' 
I  demanded  of  one  of  the  soldiers.  '  The  President,'  was 
his  answer ;  '  he  was  killed  by  an  assassin  ! '  Then  came 
a  loud  burst  of  grief  from  the  crowd,  which  awoke  me 
from  my  dream.  I  slept  no  more  that  night ;  and  al- 
though it  was  only  a  dream,  I  have  been  strangely 
annoyed  by  it  ever  since." 

"  That  is  horrid  !  "  said  Mrs.  Lincoln.  "  I  wish  you 
had  not  told  it.  I  am  glad  I  don't  believe  in  dreams, 
or  I  should  be  in  terror  from  this  time  forth." 

"Well,"  responded  Mr.  Lincoln,  thoughtfully,  "it  is 
only  a  dream,  Mary.  Let  us  say  no  more  about  it,  and 
try  to  forget  it." 

This  dream  was  so  horrible,  so  real,  and  so  in  keeping 
with  other  dreams  and  threatening  presentiments  of  his, 
that  Mr.  Lincoln  was  profoundly  disturbed  by  it.  During 
its  recital  he  was  grave,  gloomy,  and  at  times  visibly  pale, 
but  perfectly  calm.  He  spoke  slowly,  with  measured 
accents  and  deep  feeling.  In  conversations  with  me  he 
referred  to  it  afterward,  closing  one  with  this  quotation 
from  "  Hamlet  "  :  "To  sleep ;  perchance  to  dream  !  ay, 
there's  the  rub .' "  with  a  strong  accent  on  the  last  three 

Once  the  President  alluded  to  this  terrible  dream 
with  some  show  of  playful  humor.  "  Hill,"  said  he, 
"your  apprehension  of  harm  to  me  from  some  hidden 
enemy  is  downright  foolishness.  For  a  long  time  you 
have  been  trying  to  keep  somebody  —  the  Lord  knows 


who  —  from  killing  me.  Don't  you  see  how  it  will  turn 
out?  In  this  dream  it  was  not  me,  but  some  other 
fellow,  that  was  killed.  It  seems  that  this  ghostly 
assassin  tried  his  hand  on  some  one  else.  And  this 
reminds  me  of  an  old  farmer  in  Illinois  whose  family 
were  made  sick  by  eating  greens.  Some  poisonous  herb 
had  got  into  the  mess,  and  members  of  the  family  were 
in  danger  of  dying.  There  was  a  half-witted  boy  in  the 
family  called  Jake ;  and  always  afterward  when  they  had 
greens  the  old  man  would  say,  '  Now,  afore  we  risk  these 
greens,  let's  try  'em  on  Jake.  If  he  stands  'em,  we  're 
all  right.'  Just  so  with  me.  As  long  as  this  imaginary 
assassin  continues  to  exercise  himself  on  others  /  can 
stand  it."  He  then  became  serious  and  said:  "Well, 
let  it  go.  I  think  the  Lord  in  His  own  good  time 
and  way  will  work  this  out  all  right.  God  knows  what 
is  best." 

These  words  he  spoke  with  a  sigh,  and  rather  in  a 
tone  of  soliloquy,  as  if  hardly  noting  my  presence. 

Mr.  Lincoln  had  another  remarkable  dream,  which 
was  repeated  so  frequently  during  his  occupancy  of  the 
White  House  that  he  came  to  regard  it  as  a  welcome 
visitor.  It  was  of  a  pleasing  and  promising  character, 
having  nothing  in  it  of  the  horrible.  It  was  always  an 
omen  of  a  Union  victory,  and  came  with  unerring  cer- 
tainty just  before  every  military  or  naval  engagement 
where  our  arms  were  crowned  with  success.  In  this 
dream  he  saw  a  ship  sailing  away  rapidly,  badly  damaged, 
and  our  victorious  vessels  in  close  pursuit.  He  saw, 


also,  the  close  of  a  battle  on  land,  the  enemy  routed, 
and  our  forces  in  possession  of  vantage  ground  of 
incalculable  importance.  Mr.  Lincoln  stated  it  as  a 
fact  that  he  had  this  dream  just  before  the  battles  of 
Antietam,  Gettysburg,  and  other  signal  engagements 
throughout  the  war. 

The  last  time  Mr.  Lincoln  had  this  dream  was  the 
night  before  his  assassination.  On  the  morning  of  that 
lamentable  day  there  was  a  Cabinet  meeting  at  which 
General  Grant  was  present.  During  an  interval  of  gen- 
eral discussion,  the  President  asked  General  Grant  if  he 
had  any  news  from  General  Sherman,  who  was  then 
confronting  Johnston.  The  reply  was  in  the  negative, 
but  the  general  added  that  he  was  in  hourly  expectation 
of  a  dispatch  announcing  Johnston's  surrender.  Mr. 
Lincoln  then  with  great  impressiveness  said  :  "  We  shall 
hear  very  soon,  and  the  news  will  be  important."  Gen- 
eral Grant  asked  him  why  he  thought  so.  "  Because," 
said  Mr.  Lincoln,  "  I  had  a  dream  last  night ;  and  ever 
since  this  war  began  I  have  had  the  same  dream  just 
before  every  event  of  great  national  importance.  It 
portends  some  important  event  that  will  happen  very 

After  this  Mr.  Lincoln  became  unusually  cheerful. 
In  the  afternoon  he  ordered  a  carriage  for  a  drive.  Mrs. 
Lincoln  asked  him  if  he  wished  any  one  to  accompany 
them.  "  No,  Mary,"  said  he,  "  I  prefer  that  we  ride  by 
ourselves  to-day." 

Mrs.  Lincoln  said  afterwards  that  she  never  saw  him 


look  happier  than  he  did  during  that  drive.  In  reply 
to  a  remark  of  hers  to  that  effect,  Mr.  Lincoln  said  : 
"  And  well  may  I  feel  so,  Mary ;  for  I  consider  that 
this  day  the  war  has  come  to  a  close.  Now,  we  must 
try  to  be  more  cheerful  in  the  future ;  for  between  this 
terrible  war  and  the  loss  of  our  darling  son  we  have 
suffered  much  misery.  Let  us  both  try  to  be  happy." 

On  the  night  of  the  fatal  i4th  of  April,  1865,  when 
the  President  was  assassinated,  Mrs.  Lincoln's  first  ex- 
clamation was,  "His  dream  was  prophetic." 

History  will  record  no  censure  against  Mr.  Lincoln 
for  believing,  like  the  first  Napoleon,  that  he  was  a  man 
of  destiny ;  for  such  he  surely  was,  if  the  term  is  at  all 
admissible  in  a  philosophic  sense.  And  our  estimate 
of  his  greatness  must  be  heightened  by  conceding  the 
fact  that  he  was  a  believer  in  certain  phases  of  the 
supernatural.  Assured  as  he  undoubtedly  was  by  omens 
which  to  his  mind  were  conclusive  that  he  would  rise 
to  greatness  and  power,  he  was  as  firmly  convinced  by 
the  same  tokens  that  he  would  be  suddenly  cut  off  at 
the  height  of  his  career  and  the  fulness  of  his  fame.  He 
always  believed  that  he  would  fall  by  the  hand  of  an 
assassin;  and  yet  with  that  appalling  doom  clouding 
his  life,  —  a  doom  fixed  and  irreversible,  as  he  was 
firmly  convinced,  —  his  courage  never  for  a  moment 
forsook  him,  even  in  the  most  trying  emergencies.  Can 
greatness,  courage,  constancy  in  the  pursuit  of  exalted 
aims,  be  tried  by  a  severer  test?  He  believed  with 
Tennyson  that  — 


"  Because  right  is  right,  to  follow  right 
Were  wisdom  in  the  scorn  of  consequence." 

Concerning  presentiments  and  dreams  Mr.  Lincoln 
had  a  philosophy  of  his  own,  which,  strange  as  it  may 
appear,  was  in  perfect  harmony  with  his  character  in  all 
other  respects.  He  was  no  dabbler  in  divination, — 
astrology,  horoscopy,  prophecy,  ghostly  lore,  or  witch- 
eries of  any  sort.  With  Goethe,  he  held  that  "  Nature 
cannot  but  do  right  eternally."  Dreams  and  presenti- 
ments, in  his  judgment,  are  not  of  supernatural  origin ; 
that  is,  they  proceed  in  natural  order,  their  essence 
being  preternatural,  but  not  above  Nature.  The  mov- 
ing power  of  dreams  and  visions  of  an  extraordinary 
character  he  ascribed,  as  did  the  Patriarchs  of  old,  to 
the  Almighty  Intelligence  that  governs  the  universe, 
their  processes  conforming  strictly  to  natural  laws. 
"  Nature,"  said  he,  "  is  the  workmanship  of  the  Almighty ; 
and  we  form  but  links  in  the  general  chain  of  intellectual 
and  material  life." 

Mr.  Lincoln  had  this  further  idea.  Dreams  being 
natural  occurrences,  in  the  strictest  sense,  he  held  that 
their  best  interpreters  are  the  common  people ;  and  this 
accounts  in  large  measure  for  the  profound  respect  he 
always  had  for  the  collective  wisdom  of  plain  people,  — 
"  the  children  of  Nature,"  he  called  them,  —  touching 
matters  belonging  to  the  domain  of  psychical  mysteries. 
There  was  some  basis  of  truth,  he  believed,  for  whatever 
obtained  general  credence  among  these  "  children  of 
Nature ; "  and  as  he  esteemed  himself  one  of  their 


number,  having  passed  the  greater  part  of  his  life  among 
them,  we  can  easily  account  for  the  strength  of  his 
convictions  on  matters  about  which  they  and  he  were  in 
cordial  agreement. 

The  natural  bent  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  mind,  aided  by 
early  associations,  inclined  him  to  read  books  which 
tended  to  strengthen  his  early  convictions  on  occult 
subjects.  Byron's  "  Dream  "  was  a  favorite  poem,  and 
I  have  often  heard  him  repeat  the  following  lines :  — 

"  Sleep  hath  its  own  world, 
A  boundary  between  the  things  misnamed 
Death  and  existence :  Sleep  hath  its  own  world 
And  a  wide  realm  of  wild  reality. 
And  dreams  in  their  development  have  breath, 
And  tears  and  tortures,  and  the  touch  of  joy; 
They  leave  a  weight  upon  our  waking  thoughts, 
They  take  a  weight  from  off  our  waking  toils, 
They  do  divide  our  being." 

He  seemed  strangely  fascinated  by  the  wonderful 
in  history,  —  such  as  the  fall  of  Geta  by  the  hand  of 
Caracalla,  as  foretold  by  Severus;  the  ghosts  of  Cara- 
calla's  father  and  murdered  brother  threatening  and  up- 
braiding him ;  and  kindred  passages-  It  is  useless 
further  to  pursue  this  account  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  peculiar 
views  concerning  these  interesting  mysteries.  Enough 
has  been  said  to  show  that  the  more  intense  the  light 
which  is  poured  upon  what  may  be  regarded  as  Mr. 
Lincoln's  weakest  points,  the  greater  and  grander  will 
his  character  appear. 



NO  one  knew  better  than  Mr.  Lincoln  that  genuine 
humor  is  "  a  plaster  that  heals  many  a  wound ;  " 
and  certainly  no  man  ever  had  a  larger  stock  of  that 
healing  balm  or  knew  better  how  to  use  it.  His  old 
friend  I.  N.  Arnold  once  remarked  that  Lincoln's  laugh 
had  been  his  "  life-preserver."  Wit,  with  that  illustrious 
man,  was  a  jewel  whose  mirth-moving  flashes  he  could 
no  more  repress  than  the  diamond  can  extinguish  its 
own  brilliancy.  In  no  sense  was  he  vain  of  his  superb 
ability  as  a  wit  and  story-teller. 

Noah  Brooks  says  in  an  article  written  for  Harper's 
Monthly,  three  months  after  Mr.  Lincoln's  death,  that 
the  President  once  said,  that,  as  near  as  he  could  reckon, 
about  one  sixth  only  of  the  stories  credited  to  him  were 
old  acquaintances,  —  all  the  others  were  the  productions 
of  other  and  better  story-tellers  than  himself.  "  I 
remember,"  said  he,  "a  good  story  when  I  hear  it;  but 
I  never  invented  anything  original.  I  am  only  a  retail- 
dealer."  No  man  was  readier  than  he  to  acknowledge 
the  force  of  Shakespeare's  famous  lines, 

"  A  jest's  prosperity  lies  in  the  ear 
Of  him  that  hears  it;  never  in  the  tongue 
Of  him  that  makes  it." 


Mr.  Lincoln's  stories  were  generally  told  with  a  well- 
defined  purpose,  —  to  cheer  the  drooping  spirits  of  a 
friend ;  to  lighten  the  weight  of  his  own  melancholy,  — 
"  a  pinch,  as  it  were,  of  mental  snuff,"  —  to  clinch  an 
argument,  to  expose  a  fallacy,  or  to  disarm  an  antag- 
onist ;  but  most  frequently  he  employed  them  simply  as 
"  labor-saving  contrivances."  He  believed,  with  the 
great  Ulysses  of  old,  that  there  is  naught  "  so  tedious  as 
a  twice-told  tale ;  "  and  during  my  long  and  intimate 
acquaintance  with  Mr.  Lincoln  I  seldom  heard  him 
relate  a  story  the  second  time.  The  most  trifling  cir- 
cumstances, or  even  a  word,  was  enough  to  remind  him 
of  a  story,  the  aptness  of  which  no  one  could  fail  to  see. 
He  cared  little  about  high-flown  words,  fine  phrases, 
or  merely  ornamental  diction ;  and  yet,  for  one  wholly 
without  scholastic  training,  he  was  master  of  a  style 
which  was  remarkable  for  purity,  terseness,  vigor,  and 
force.  As  Antenor  said  of  the  Grecian  king,  "  he  spoke 
no  more  than  just  the  thing  he  thought ;  "  and  that 
thought  he  clothed  in  the  simplest  garb,  often  sacrificing 
the  elegant  and  poetic  for  the  homely  and  prosaic  in 
the  structure  of  his  sentences. 

In  one  of  his  messages  to  Congress  Mr.  Lincoln  used 
the  term  "  sugar-coated."  When  the  document  was 
placed  in  the  hands  of  the  public  printer,  Hon.  John  D. 
Defrees,  that  officer  was  terribly  shocked  and  offended. 
Mr.  Defrees  was  an  accomplished  scholar,  a  man  of 
fastidious  taste,  and  a  devoted  friend  of  the  President, 
with  whom  he  was  on  terms  of  great  intimacy.  It  would 


never  do  to  leave  the  forbidden  term  in  the  message ; 
it  must  be  expunged,  —  otherwise  it  would  forever  re- 
main a  ruinous  blot  on  the  fair  fame  of  the  President. 
In  great  distress  and  mortification  the  good  Defrees 
hurried  away  to  the  White  House,  where  he  told  Mr. 
Lincoln  plainly  that  "  sugar-coated "  was  not  in  good 

"You  ought  to  remember,  Mr.  President,"  said  he, 
"  that  a  message  to  the  Congress  of  the  United  States  is 
quite  a  different  thing  from  a  speech  before  a  mass 
meeting  in  Illinois ;  that  such  messages  become  a  part 
of  the  history  of  the  country,  and  should  therefore  be 
written  with  scrupulous  care  and  propriety.  Such  an 
expression  in  a  State  paper  is  undignified,  and  if  I  were 
you  I  would  alter  the  structure  of  the  whole  sentence." 

Mr.  Lincoln  laughed,  and  then  said  with  a  comical 
show  of  gravity :  "  John,  that  term  expresses  precisely 
my  idea,  and  I  am  not  going  to  change  it.  '  Sugar- 
coated  '  must  stand  !  The  time  will  never  come  in  this 
country  when  the  people  will  not  understand  exactly 
what  'sugar-coated'  means." 

Mr.  Defrees  was  obliged  to  yield,  and  the  message  was 
printed  without  amendment. 

One  day  at  a  critical  stage  of  the  war,  Mr.  Lincoln 
sat  in  his  office  in  deep  meditation.  Being  suddenly 
aroused,  he  said  to  a  gentleman  whose  presence  he  had 
not  until  that  moment  observed  :  "  Do  you  know  that  I 

think  General is  a  philosopher?  He  has  proved 

himself  a  really  great  man.  He  has  grappled  with  and 


mastered  that  ancient  and  wise  admonition,  '  Know  thy- 
self; '  he  has  formed  an  intimate  acquaintance  with  him- 
self, knows  as  well  for  what  he  is  fitted  and  unfitted  as 
any  man  living.  Without  doubt  he  is  a  remarkable  man. 
This  war  has  not  produced  another  like  him." 

"Why  is  it,  Mr.  President,"  asked  his  friend,  "that 

you  are  now  so  highly  pleased  with  General ? 

Has  your  mind  not  undergone  a  change?" 

"  Because,"  replied  Mr.  Lincoln,  with  a  merry  twinkle 
of  the  eye,  "greatly  to  my  relief,  and  to  the  interests 
of  the  country,  he  has  resigned.  And  now  I  hope  some 
other  dress-parade  commanders  will  study  the  good 
old  admonition, '  Know  thyself,'  and  follow  his  example." 

On  the  3d  of  February,  1865,  during  the  so-called 
Peace  Conference  at  Hampton  Roads  between  Mr. 
Lincoln  and  Mr.  Seward  on  the  one  side  and  the  Messrs. 
Stephens,  Campbell,  and  Hunter  on  the  other,  Mr. 
Hunter  remarked  that  the  recognition  of  the  Confed- 
erate government  by  President  Lincoln  was  indispen- 
sable as  the  first  step  towards  peace ;  and  he  made 
an  ingenious  argument  in  support  of  his  proposition, 
citing  as  a  precedent  for  the  guidance  of  constitutional 
rulers  in  dealing  with  insurgents  the  case  of  Charles  I. 
and  his  rebel  Parliament.  This  reference  to  King 
Charles  as  a  model  for  imitation  by  a  President  of  the 
United  States  was  a  little  unfortunate,  but  Mr.  Lincoln 
was  more  amused  than  offended  by  it.  Turning  to  Mr. 
Hunter  he  said :  "  On  the  question  of  history  I  must 
refer  you  to  Mr.  Seward,  who  is  posted  in  such  matters. 


I  don't  pretend  to  be ;  but  I  have  a  tolerably  distinct 
recollection,  in  the  case  you  refer  to,  that  Charles  lost 
his  head,  and  I  have  no  head  to  spare." 

Mr.  Hunter,  during  the  same  conference,  in  speaking 
of  emancipation,  remarked  that  the  slaves  had  always 
been  accustomed  to  work  on  compulsion,  under  an 
overseer ;  and  he  apprehended  they  would,  if  suddenly 
set  free,  precipitate  themselves  and  the  whole  social 
fabric  of  the  South  into  irretrievable  ruin.  In  that  case 
neither  the  whites  nor  the  blacks  would  work.  They 
would  all  starve  together.  To  this  Mr.  Lincoln  replied : 
"Mr.  Hunter,  you  ought  to  know  a  great  deal  more 
about  this  matter  than  I  do,  for  you  have  always  lived 
under  the  slave  system.  But  the  way  you  state  the  case 
reminds  me  of  an  Illinois  farmer  who  was  not  over-fond 
of  work,  but  was  an  adept  in  shirking.  To  this  end 
he  conceived  a  brilliant  scheme  of  hog  culture.  Having 
a  good  farm,  he  bought  a  large  herd  of  swine.  He 
planted  an  immense  field  in  potatoes,  with  the  view  of 
turning  the  whole  herd  into  it  late  in  the  fall,  supposing 
they  would  be  able  to  provide  for  themselves  during 
the  winter.  One  day  his  scheme  was  discussed  between 
himself  and  a  neighbor,  who  asked  him  how  the  thing 
would  work  when  the  ground  was  frozen  one  or  two 
feet  deep.  He  had  not  thought  of  that  contingency, 
and  seemed  perplexed  over  it.  At  length  he  answered  : 
'  Well,  it  will  be  a  leetle  hard  on  their  snouts,  I  reckon ; 
but  them  shoats  will  have  to  root,  hog,  or  die.'  And 
so,"  concluded  Mr.  Lincoln,  "  in  the  dire  contingency 


you  name,  whites  and  black  alike  will  have  to  look  out 
for  themselves;  and  I  have  an  abiding  faith  that  they 
will  go  about  it  in  a  fashion  that  will  undeceive  you  in  a 
very  agreeable  way." 

During  the  same  conference,  in  response  to  certain 
remarks  by  the  Confederate  commissioners  requiring 
explicit  contradiction,  Mr.  Lincoln  animadverted  with 
some  severity  upon  the  conduct  of  the  rebel  leaders, 
and  closed  with  the  statement  that  they  had  plainly 
forfeited  all  right  to  immunity  from  punishment  for  the 
highest  crime  known  to  the  law.  Being  positive  and 
unequivocal  in  stating  his  views  concerning  individual 
treason,  his  words  seemed  to  fall  upon  the  commissioners 
with  ominous  import.  There  was  a  pause,  during  which 
Mr.  Hunter  regarded  the  speaker  with  a  steady,  search- 
ing look.  At  length,  carefully  measuring  his  own  words, 
Mr.  Hunter  said :  "  Then,  Mr.  President,  if  we  under- 
stand you  correctly,  you  think  that  we  of  the  Confed- 
eracy have  committed  treason ;  that  we  are  traitors  to 
your  government ;  that  we  have  forfeited  our  rights,  and 
are  proper  subjects  for  the  hangman.  Is  not  that  about 
what  your  words  imply?" 

"  Yes,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln,  "  you  have  stated  the  propo- 
sition better  than  I  did.  That  is  about  the  size  of  it !  " 

There  was  another  pause,  and  a  painful  one,  after 
which  Mr.  Hunter,  with  a  pleasant  smile,  replied  :  "  Well, 
Mr.  Lincoln,  we  have  about  concluded  that  we  shall 
not  be  hanged  as  long  as  you  are  President  —  if  we 
behave  ourselves." 


There  is  here  as  high  a  compliment  as  could  have  been 
paid  to  Mr.  Lincoln,  —  a  trust  in  his  magnanimity  and 
goodness  of  heart.  From  the  gentleness  of  his  char- 
acter, such  were  the  sentiments  he  inspired  even  among 
his  enemies,  —  that  he  was  incapable  of  inflicting  -pain, 
punishment,  or  injury  if  it  could  possibly  be  avoided; 
that  he  was  always  resolutely  merciful  and  forbearing. 

On  his  return  to  Washington  after  this  conference, 
Mr.  Lincoln  recounted  the  pleasure  he  had  had  in 
meeting  Alexander  H.  Stephens,  who  was  an  invalid  all 
his  life  ;  and  in  commenting  upon  his  attenuated  appear- 
ance as  he  looked  after  emerging  from  layers  of  over- 
coats and  comforters,  Mr.  Lincoln  said,  "Was  there  ever 
such  a  nubbin  after  so  much  shucking?  " 

At  one  time  when  very  lively  scenes  were  being 
enacted  in  West  Virginia,  a  Union  general  allowed  him- 
self and  his  command  to  be  drawn  into  a  dangerous 
position,  from  which  it  was  feared  he  would  be  unable  to 
extricate  himself  without  the  loss  of  his  whole  command. 
In  speaking  of  this  fiasco,  Mr.  Lincoln  said  :  "  General 

reminds  me  of  a  man  out  West  who  was  engaged 

in  what  they  call  heading  a  barrel.  He  worked  diligently 
for  a  time  driving  down  the  hoops ;  but  when  the  job 
seemed  completed,  the  head  would  fall  in,  and  he  would 
have  to  do  the  work  all  over  again.  Suddenly,  after  a 
deal  of  annoyance,  a  bright  idea  struck  him.  He  put 
his  boy,  a  chunk  of  a  lad,  into  the  barrel  to  hold  up  the 
head  while  he  pounded  down  the  hoops.  This  worked 
like  a  charm.  The  job  was  completed  before  he  once 



thought  about  how  he  was  to  get  the  little  fellow  out 
again.  Now,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln,  "that  is  a  fair  sample 
of  the  way  some  people  do  business.  They  can  succeed 
better  in  getting  themselves  and  others  corked  up  than 
in  getting  uncorked." 

During  the  year  1861  it  was  difficult  to  preserve 
peace  and  good  order  in  the  city  of  Washington. 
Riots  and  disturbances  were  occurring  daily,  and  some 
of  them  were  of  a  serious  and  sometimes  dangerous 
nature.  The  authorities  were  in  constant  apprehension, 
owing  to  the  disloyal  sentiment  prevailing,  that  a  riot 
might  occur  of  such  magnitude  as  to  endanger  the  safety 
of  the  capital ;  and  this  necessitated  the  utmost  vigilance 
on  their  part  to  preserve  order. 

On  one  occasion,  when  the  fears  of  the  loyal  element 
of  the  city  were  excited  to  fever-heat,  a  free  fight  near 
the  old  National  Theatre  occurred  about  eleven  o'clock 
one  night.  An  officer  in  passing  the  place  observed 
what  was  going  on ;  and  seeing  the  great  number  of 
persons  engaged,  he  felt  it  to  be  his  duty  to  command 
the  peace.  The  imperative  tone  of  his  voice  stopped 
the  fighting  for  a  moment ;  but  the  leader,  a  great  bully, 
roughly  pushed  back  the  officer,  and  told  him  to  go 
away,  or  he  would  whip  him.  The  officer  again  advanced 
and  said,  "  I  arrest  you,"  attempting  to  place  his  hand 
on  the  man's  shoulder,  when  the  bully  struck  a  fearful 
blow  at  the  officer's  face.  This  was  parried,  and  instantly 
followed  by  a  blow  from  the  fist  of  the  officer,  striking 
the  fellow  under  the  chin  and  knocking  him  senseless. 


Blood  issued  from  his  mouth,  nose,  and  ears.  It  was 
believed  that  the  man's  neck  was  broken.  A  surgeon 
was  called,  who  pronounced  the  case  a  critical  one,  and 
the  wounded  man  was  hurried  away  on  a  litter  to  the 
hospital.  There  the  physicians  said  there  was  concus- 
sion of  the  brain,  and  that  the  man  would  die.  All 
medical  skill  that  the  officer  could  procure  was  employed 
in  the  hope  of  saving  the  life  of  the  man.  His  con- 
science smote  him  for  having,  as  he  believed,  taken  the 
life  of  a  fellow-creature,  and  he  was  inconsolable. 

Being  on  terms  of  intimacy  with  the  President,  about 
two  o'clock  that  night  the  officer  went  to  the  White 
House,  woke  up  Mr.  Lincoln,  and  requested  him  to 
come  into  his  office,  where  he  told  him  his  story.  Mr. 
Lincoln  listened  with  great  interest  until  the  narrative 
was  completed,  and  then  asked  a  few  questions ;  after 
which  he  remarked :  "  I  am  sorry  you  had  to  kill  the 
man ;  but  these  are  times  of  war,  and  a  great  many  men 
deserve  killing.  This  one,  according  to  your  story,  is 
one  of  them ;  so  give  yourself  no  uneasiness  about  the 
matter.  I  will  stand  by  you." 

"  That  is  not  why  I  came  to  you.  I  knew  I  did  my 
duty,  and  had  no  fears  of  your  disapproval  of  what  I 
did,"  replied  the  officer;  and  then  he  added:  "Why  I 
came  to  you  was,  I  felt  great  grief  over  the  unfortunate 
affair,  and  I  wanted  to  talk  to  you  about  it." 

Mr.  Lincoln  then  said,  with  a  smile,  placing  his  hand 
on  the  officer's  shoulder :  "  You  go  home  now  and  get 
some  sleep ;  but  let  me  give  you  this  piece  of  advice,  — 


hereafter,  when  you  have  occasion  to  strike  a  man,  don't 
hit  him  with  your  fist ;  strike  him  with  a  club,  a  crowbar, 
or  with  something  that  won't  kill  him." 

The  officer  then  went  home,  but  not  to  sleep.  The 
occurrence  had  a  great  effect  upon  him,  and  was  a  real 
source  of  discomfort  to  his  mind  during  the  fourteen 
months  the  unfortunate  invalid  lived,  and  it  left  a  sincere 
regret  impressed  upon  him  ever  after ;  but  the  concili- 
atory and  kindly  view  prompted  by  Mr.  Lincoln's  tender 
heart,  and  his  fidelity  to  friendship  on  that  occasion,  is 
to  this  day  cherished  in  the  officer's  memory  with  a 
feeling  of  consecration. 

About  the  first  time  Mr.  Lincoln  contemplated  leaving 
Washington,  he  was  to  attend  some  gathering  of  the 
people  in  Baltimore,  Philadelphia,  or  New  York.  A 
committee  waited  upon  him  and  urged  his  attendance 
on  the  occasion,  saying  that  they  were  sure  Mr.  Garrett, 
the  president  of  the  only  road  then  going  east  out  of 
Washington,  would  take  great  pleasure  in  furnishing  a 
special  train  of  cars  for  him.  "Well,"  said  the  President, 
"  I  have  no  doubt  of  that  I  know  Mr.  Garrett  well, 
and  like  him  very  much  ;  but  if  I  were  to  believe  (which 
I  don't)  everything  some  people  say  of  him  about  his 
'  secesh '  principles,  he  might  say  to  you  as  was  said  by 
the  superintendent  of  a  railroad  to  a  son  of  one  of  my 
predecessors  in  office.  Some  two  years  after  the  death 
of  President  Harrison,  the  son  of  the  incumbent  of  this 
office,  contemplating  an  excursion  for  his  father  some- 
where or  other,  went  to  order  a  special  train  of  cars. 


At  that  time  politics  were  very  bitter  between  the  Whigs 
and  the  Democrats,  and  the  railroad  superintendent 
happened  to  be  an  uncompromising  Whig.  The  son 
made  known  his  demand,  which  was  bluntly  refused  by 
the  railroad  official,  saying  that  his  road  was  not  running 
special  trains  for  the  accommodation  of  Presidents  just 
then.  '  What ! '  said  the  young  man,  '  did  you  not  fur- 
nish a  special  train  for  the  funeral  of  General  Harrison  ? ' 
'  Yes,'  said  the  superintendent,  very  calmly ;  '  and  if  you 
will  only  bring  your  father  here  in  that  shape  you  shall 
have  the  best  train  on  the  road.'  But,  gentlemen,"  con- 
tinued.Mr.  Lincoln,  "I  have  no  doubts  of  Mr.  Garrett's 
loyalty  for  the  government  or  his  respect  for  me 
personally,  and  I  will  take  pleasure  in  going." 

General  James  B.  Fry,  the  Provost-Marshal  General 
during  Mr.  Lincoln's  Administration,  was  designated  by 
the  Secretary  of  War  as  a  special  escort  to  accompany 
Mr.  Lincoln  to  the  field  of  Gettysburg  upon  the  occasion 
of  the  anniversary  of  that  battle.  The  general,  on  arriv- 
ing at  the  White  House  and  finding  the  President  late 
in  his  preparations  for  the  trip,  remarked  to  him  that  it 
was  late,  and  there  was  little  time  to  lose  in  getting  to 
the  train.  "Well,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln,  "I  feel  about  that 
.is  the  convict  did  in  Illinois,  when  he  was  going  to  the 
gallows.  Passing  along  the  road  in  custody  of  the  sheriff, 
and  seeing  the  people  who  were  eager  for  the  execution 
crowding  and  jostling  one  another  past  him,  he  at  last 
called  out,  '  Boys  !  you  need  n't  be  in  such  a  hurry  to  get 
ahead,  for  there  won't  be  any  fun  till  I  get  there.' " 


General  Fry  also  tells  of  a  conversation  between  Mr. 
Lincoln  and  Mr.  Stanton,  in  relation  to  the  selection 
of  brigadier-generals.  Mr.  Lincoln  was  heard  to  say  : 
"Well,  Mr.  Secretary,  I  concur  in  pretty  much  all  you 
say.  The  only  point  I  make  is,  that  there  has  got  to 
be  something  done  which  will  be  unquestionably  in  the 
interest  of  the  Dutch ;  and  to  that  end  I  want  Schim- 
melpfennig  appointed."  The  secretary  replied :  "  Mr. 
President,  perhaps  this  Schimrnel  —  what  's-his-name  — 
is  not  as  highly  recommended  as  some  other  German 
officer."  "  No  matter  about  that,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln ; 
"his  name  will  make  up  for  any  difference  there  may 
be,  and  I  '11  take  the  risk  of  his  coming  out  all  right." 
Then,  with  a  laugh,  he  repeated,  dwelling  upon  each 
syllable  of  the  name  and  accenting  the  last  one, 
"  Schim-mel-pfen-Twjf  must  be  appointed." 

Mr.  Welles,  in  speaking  of  the  complication  into  which 
Spain  attempted  to  draw  the  government  of  the  United 
States  in  regard  to  reclaiming  her  possessions  in  San 
Domingo,  says  that  the  pressure  was  great  on  both  sides, 
and  the  question  a  grave  and  delicate  one  as  to  what  po- 
sition we  should  take  and  what  course  pursue.  On  the 
one  side  Spain,  whose  favor  we  wished  to  conciliate,  and 
on  the  other  the  appeal  of  the  negroes  against  Spanish 
oppression.  Mr.  Sevvard  detailed  the  embarrassments 
attending  the  negotiations  to  Mr.  Lincoln,  whose  coun- 
tenance indicated  that  his  mind  was  relieved  before 
Mr.  Seward  had  concluded.  He  remarked  that  the 
dilemma  of  the  Secretary  of  State  reminded  him  of  an 


interview  between  two  negroes  in  Tennessee ;  one  was  a 
preacher,  who,  with  the  crude  and  strange  notions  of 
his  ignorant  race,  was  endeavoring  to  admonish  and 
enlighten  his  brother  African  of  the  importance  of 
religion  and  the  danger  of  the  future.  "  *  Dar  are,'  said 
Josh  the  preacher,  'two  roads  befo'  you,  Joe;  be  careful 
which  ob  dem  you  take.  Narrow  am  de  way  dat  leads 
straight  to  destruction ;  but  broad  am  de  way  dat  leads 
right  to  damnation.'  Joe  opened  his  eyes  with  affright, 
and  under  the  inspired  eloquence  of  the  awful  danger 
before  him,  exclaimed,  'Josh,  take  which  road  you 
please ;  I  shall  go  troo  de  woods.'  I  am  not  willing," 
said  the  President,  "  to  assume  any  new  troubles  or  re- 
sponsibilities at  this  time,  and  shall  therefore  avoid  going 
to  the  one  place  with  Spain  or  with  the  negro  to  the 
other,  but  shall  take  to  the  woods.  We  will  maintain  an 
honest  and  strict  neutrality." 

When  Attorney-General  Bates  resigned,  late  in  1864, 
after  the  resignation  of  Postmaster-General  Blair  in  that 
year,  the  Cabinet  was  left  without  a  Southern  member. 
A  few  days  before  the  meeting  of  the  Supreme  Court, 
which  then  met  in  December,  Mr.  Lincoln  sent  for 
Titian  F.  Coffey,  and  said :  "  My  Cabinet  has  shrunk  up 
North,  and  I  must  find  a  Southern  man.  I  suppose  if 
the  twelve  Apostles  were  to  be  chosen  nowadays,  the 
shrieks  of  locality  would  have  to  be  heeded." 

Mr.  Coffey  acted  as  Attorney-General  during  the  time 
intervening  between  the  resignation  of  Mr.  Bates  and 
the  appointment  of  Mr.  Speed.  He  tells  about  a  dele- 


gation  that  called  on  Mr.  Lincoln  to  ask  the  appointment 
of  a  gentleman  as  commissioner  to  the  Sandwich  Islands. 
They  presented  their  case  as  earnestly  as  possible ;  and 
besides  their  candidate's  fitness  for  the  place  they  urged 
that  he  was  in  bad  health,  and  that  a  residence  in  that 
balmy  climate  would  be  of  great  benefit  to  him.  The 
President  closed  the  interview  with  this  discouraging 
remark :  "  Gentlemen,  I  am  sorry  to  say  that  there  are 
eight  other  applicants  for  that  place,  and  they  are  all 
sicker  than  your  man." 

In  1858  Mr.  Lincoln  was  engaged  at  Bloomington,  in 
a  case  of  very  great  importance.  The  attorney  on  the 
other  side  was  a  young  lawyer  of  fine  abilities,  who  has 
since  become  a  judge.  He  was  a  sensible  and  sensitive 
young  man,  and  the  loss  of  a  case  always  gave  him  great 
pain,  —  to  avoid  which  he  invariably  manifested  an 
unusual  zeal,  and  made  great  preparation  for  the  trial  of 
his  cases.  This  case  of  which  I  speak  lasted  till  late  at 
night,  when  it  was  submitted  to  the  jury.  In  anticipa- 
tion of  a  favorable  verdict,  the  young  attorney  spent  a 
sleepless  night  in  anxiety,  and  early  next  morning  learned 
to  his  great  chagrin  that  he  had  lost  the  case.  Mr.  Lin- 
coln met  him  at  the  court  house  some  time  after  the  jury 
had  come  in,  and  asked  him  what  had  become  of  his 
case.  With  lugubrious  countenance  and  in  a  melan- 
choly tone  the  young  man  replied,  "  It 's  gone  to  hell." 
"Oh,  well,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln,  "then  you  will  see  it 

Mr.  Lincoln  had  shown  great  wisdom  in  appreciating 


the  importance  of  holding  such  Democrats  as  Mr.  Doug- 
las close  to  the  Administration,  on  the  issue  of  a  united 
country  or  a  dissolution  of  the  Union.  He  said  :  "  They 
are  just  where  we  Whigs  were  in  1848,  about  the  Mexi- 
can war.  We  had  to  take  the  Locofoco  preamble  when 
Taylor  wanted  help,  or  else  vote  against  helping  Taylor ; 
and  the  Democrats  must-  vote  to  hold  the  Union  now, 
without  bothering  whether  we  or  the  Southern  men  got 
things  where  they  are ;  and  we  must  make  it  easy  for 
them  to  do  this,  for  we  cannot  live  through  the  case 
without  them."  He  further  said  :  "  Some  of  our  friends 
are  opposed  to  an  accommodation  because  the  South 
began  the  trouble  and  is  entirely  responsible  for  the  con- 
sequences, be  they  what  they  may.  This  reminds  me  of 
a  story  told  out  in  Illinois  where  I  lived.  There  was  a 
vicious  bull  in  a  pasture,  and  a  neighbor  passing  through 
the  field,  the  animal  took  after  him.  The  man  ran  to  a 
tree,  and  got  there  in  time  to  save  himself;  and  being 
able  to  run  round  the  tree  faster  than  the  bull,  he  man- 
aged to  seize  him  by  the  tail.  His  bullship  seeing  him- 
self at  a  disadvantage,  pawed  the  earth  and  scattered 
gravel  for  awhile,  then  broke  into  a  full  run,  bellowing  at 
every  jump,  while  the  man,  holding  on  to  the  tail,  asked 
the  question,  '  Darn  you,  who  commenced  this  fuss  ?  ' 
Now,  our  plain  duty  is  to  settle  the  fuss  we  have  before 
us,  without  reference  to  who  commenced  it." 

Mr.  Lincoln  told  another  anecdote  in  connection  with 
the  probable  adjustment  of  the  difficulties.  Said  he  : 
"  Once  on  a  time,  a  number  of  very  pious  gentlemen,  all 


strict  members  of  the  church,  were  appointed  to  take  in 
charge  and  superintend  the  erection  of  a  bridge  over  a 
very  dangerous  and  turbulent  river.  They  found  great 
difficulty  in  securing  the  services  of  an  engineer  compe- 
tent for  the  work.  Finally,  Brother  Jones  said  that  Mr. 
Meyers  had  built  several  bridges,  and  he  had  no  doubt 
he  could  build  this  one.  Mr.  Meyers  was  sent  for.  The 
committee  asked,  'Can  you  build  this  bridge?'  'Yes,' 
was  the  answer,  '  I  can  build  a  bridge  to  the  infernal 
regions,  if  necessary.'  The  committee  was  shocked,  and 
Brother  Jones  felt  called  upon  to  say  something  in  de- 
fence of  his  friend,  and  commenced  by  saying :  '  Gentle- 
men, I  know  my  friend  Meyers  so  well,  and  he  is  so 
honest  a  man  and  so  good  an  architect,  that  if  he  states 
positively  that  he  can  build  a  bridge  to  hell,  why,  I 
believe  he  can  do  it ;  but  I  feel  bound  to  say  that  I  have 
my  doubts  about  the  abutment  on  the  infernal  side.' 
So,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln,  "  when  the  politicians  told  me 
that  the  Northern  and  Southern  wings  of  the  Democracy 
could  be  harmonized,  why,  I  believed  them  of  course ; 
but  I  had  always  my  doubts  about  the  abutment  on  the 
other  side." 

Anthony  J.  Bleeker  tells  his  experience  in  applying  for 
a  position  under  Mr.  Lincoln.  He  was  introduced  by 
Mr.  Preston  King,  and  made  his  application  verbally, 
handing  the  President  his  vouchers.  The  President 
requested  him  to  read  them,  which  he  commenced  to 
do.  Before  Mr.  Bleeker  had  got  half  through  with  the 
documents,  the  President  cried  out,  "  Oh,  stop  !  you  are 


like  the  man  who  killed  the  dog."  Not  feeling  particu- 
larly flattered  by  the  comparison,  Mr.  Bleeker  inquired, 
"In  what  respect?"  Mr.  Lincoln  replied,  "He  had  a 
vicious  animal  which  he  determined  to  dispatch,  and 
accordingly  knocked  out  his  brains  with  a  club.  He 
continued  striking  the  dog  until  a  friend  stayed  his  hand, 
exclaiming,  *  You  need  n't  strike  him  any  more,  the  dog 
is  dead ;  you  killed  him  at  the  first  blow.'  '  Oh,  yes,' 
said  he,  '  I  know  that ;  but  I  believe  in  punishment  after 
death.'  So,  I  see,  you  do."  Mr.  Bleeker  acknowledged 
that  it  was  possible  to  do  too  much  sometimes,  and  he 
in  his  turn  told  an  anecdote  of  a  good  priest  who  con- 
verted an  Indian  from  heathenism  to  Christianity;  the 
only  difficulty  he  had  with  him  was  to  get  him  to  pray 
for  his  enemies.  "  The  Indian  had  been  taught  by  his 
father  to  overcome  and  destroy  them.  '  That,'  said  the 
priest,  '  may  be  the  Indian's  creed,  but  it  is  not  the  doc- 
trine of  Christianity  or  the  Bible.  Saint  Paul  distinctly 
says,  "  If  thine  enemy  hunger,  feed  him ;  if  he  thirst, 
give  him  drink."  '  The  Indian  shook  his  head  at  this 
and  seemed  dejected,  but  when  the  priest  added,  * "  For 
in  so  doing  thou  shalt  heap  coals  of  fire  on  his  head,"  ' 
the  poor  convert  was  overcome  with  emotion,  fell  on  his 
knees,  and  with  outstretched  hands  and  uplifted  eyes 
invoked  all  sorts  of  blessings  on  his  adversary's  head, 
supplicating  for  pleasant  hunting-grounds,  a  large  supply 
of  squaws,  lots  of  papooses,  and  all  other  Indian  com- 
forts, till  the  good  priest  interrupted  him  (as  you  did 
me) ,  exclaiming,  '  Stop,  my  son  !  You  have  discharged 


your  Christian  duty,  and  have  done  more  than  enough.' 
•  Oh,  no,  father,"  says  the  Indian,  '  let  me  pray  !  I  want 
to  burn  him  down  to  the  stump  ! ' "  Mr.  Bleeker  got 
the  position. 

"  Mr.  Lincoln,"  wrote  one  who  knew  him  very  well,* 
"was  a  good  judge  of  men,  and  quickly  learned  the 
peculiar  traits  of  character  in  those  he  had  to  deal  with. 
He  pointed  out  a  marked  trait  in  one  of  the  Northern 
governors  who  was  earnest,  able,  and  untiring  in  keeping 
up  the  war  spirit  of  his  State,  but  was  at  times  overbear- 
ing and  exacting  in  his  intercourse  with  the  general 
government.  Upon  one  occasion  he  complained  and 
protested  more  bitterly  than  usual,  and  warned  those  in 
authority  that  the  execution  of  their  orders  in  his  State 
would  be  beset  by  difficulties  and  dangers.  The  tone  of 
his  dispatches  gave  rise  to  an  apprehension  that  he 
might  not  co-operate  fully  in  the  enterprise  in  hand. 
The  Secretary  of  War,  therefore,  laid  the  dispatches 
before  the  President  for  advice  or  instructions.  They 
did  not  disturb  Mr.  Lincoln  in  the  least.  In  fact,  they 
rather  amused  him.  After  reading  all  the  papers,  he 
said  in  a  cheerful  and  reassuring  tone :  '  Never  mind, 
those  dispatches  don't  mean  anything.  Just  go  right 
ahead.  The  governor  is  like  the  boy  I  saw  once  at  the 
launching  of  a  ship.  When  everything  was  ready,  they 
picked  out  a  boy  and  sent  him  under  the  ship  to  knock 
away  the  trigger  and  let  her  go.  At  the  critical  moment 
everything  depended  on  the  boy.  He  had  to  do  the  job 

*  General  Fry,  in  the  New  York  "  Tribune." 


well  by  a  direct,  vigorous  blow,  and  then  lie  flat  and 
keep  still  while  the  ship  slid  over  him.  The  boy  did 
everything  right ;  but  he  yelled  as  if  he  were  being  mur- 
dered, from  the  time  he  got  under  the  keel  until  he  got 
out.  I  thought  the  skin  was  all  scraped  off  his  back ; 
but  he  was  n't  hurt  at  all.  The  master  of  the  yard  told 
me  that  this  boy  was  always  chosen  for  that  job,  that  he 
did  his  work  well,  that  he  never  had  been  hurt,  but  that 
he  always  squealed  in  that  way.  That 's  just  the  way 

with  Governor .  Make  up  your  minds  that  he  is 

not  hurt,  and  that  he  is  doing  his  work  right,  and  pay 
no  attention  to  his  squealing.  He  only  wants  to  make 
you  understand  how  hard  his  task  is,  and  that  he  is  on 
hand  performing  it.'  " 

Time  proved  that  the  President's  estimation  of  the 
governor  was  correct. 

Upon  another  occasion  a  Governor  went  to  the  office 
of  the  Adjutant-General  bristling  with  complaints.  The 
Adjutant,  finding  it  impossible  to  satisfy  his  demands, 
accompanied  him  to  the  Secretary  of  War's  office,  whence, 
after  a  stormy  interview  with  Secretary  Stanton  he  went 
alone  to  see  the  President.  The  Adjutant-General  ex- 
pected important  orders  from  the  President  or  a  sum- 
mons to  the  White  House  for  explanation.  After  some 
hours  the  Governor  returned  and  said  with  a  pleasant 
smile  that  he  was  going  home  by  the  next  train  and 
merely  dropped  in  to  say  good-bye,  making  no  allusion  to 
the  business  upon  which  he  came  nor  his  interview  with 
the  President.  As  soon  as  the  Adjutant-General  could 


see  Mr.  Lincoln  he  told  him  he  was  very  anxious  to  learn 

how  he  disposed  of  Governor ,  as  he  had  started  to 

see  him  in  a  towering  rage,  and  said  he  supposed  it  was 
necessary  to  make  large  concessions  to  him  as  he  seemed 
after  leaving  the  President  to  be  entirely  satisfied.  "  O, 
no,"  replied  Mr.  Lincoln,  "  I  did  not  concede  anything. 
You  know  how  that  Illinois  farmer  managed  the  big  log 
that  lay  in  the  middle  of  his  field?  To  the  inquiries  of 
his  neighbors  one  Sunday  he  announced  that  he  had  got 
rid  of  the  big  log.  '  Got  rid  of  it ! '  said  they.  '  How 
did  you  do  it  ?  It  was  too  big  to  haul  out,  too  knotty  to 
split,  and  too  wet  and  soggy  to  burn.  What  did  you 
do?'  'Well,  now,  boys,'  replied  the  farmer,  'if  you 
won't  divulge  the  secret,  I  '11  tell  you  how  I  got  rid  of  it. 
I  plowed  around  it.'  Now,"  said  Lincoln,  "don't  tell 

anybody,  but  that  is  the  way  I  got  rid  of  Governor , 

I  plowed  around  him,  but  it  took  me  three  mortal  hours 
to  do  it,  and  I  was  afraid  every  minute  he  would  see 
what  I  was  at." 

Mr.  Lincoln  enjoyed  telling  of  the  youth  who  emi- 
grated to  the  West  and  wrote  back  East  to  his  father  who 
was  something  of  a  politician  :  "  Dear  Dad,  —  I  have 

settled  at and  like  it  first  rate.  Do  come  out  here, 

for  almighty  mean  men  get  office  here." 

Thurlow  Weed  tells  of  breakfasting  with  Lincoln  and 
Judge  Davis  while  in  Springfield  in  December  prior  to 
Mr.  Lincoln's  first  inauguration.  Judge  Davis  remarked 
Mr.  Weed's  fondness  for  sausage  and  said,  "  You  seem 
fond  of  our  Chicago  sausages."  To  which  Mr.  Weed 


responded  that  he  was,  and  thought  the  article  might  be 
relied  on  where  pork  was  cheaper  than  dogs.  "  That," 
said  Mr.  Lincoln,  "  reminds  me  of  what  occurred  down  in 
Joliet,  where  a  popular  grocer  supplied  all  the  villagers 
with  sausages.  One  Saturday  evening,  when  his  grocery 
was  filled  with  customers,  for  whom  he  and  his  boys 
were  busily  engaged  in  weighing  sausages,  a  neighbor 
with  whom  he  had  had  a  violent  quarrel  that  day  came 
into  the  grocery,  made  his  way  up  to  the  counter,  hold- 
ing two  enormous  dead  cats  by  the  tail,  which  he  delib- 
erately threw  onto  the  counter  saying,  "  This  makes  seven 
to-day.  I  '11  call  round  Monday  and  get  my  money 
for  them." 

Mr.  Lincoln  read  men  and  women  quickly,  and  was  so 
keen  a  judge  of  their  peculiarities  that  none  escaped  his 

Once  a  very  attractive  woman  consumed  a  good  deal 
of  Mr.  Lincoln's  time.  He  finally  dismissed  her  with  a 
card  directed  to  Secretary  Stanton  on  which  he  had 
written :  "  This  woman,  dear  Stanton,  is  a  little  smarter 
than  she  looks  to  be." 



IN  the  autumn  of  1862  I  chanced  to  be  associated  with 
Mr.  Lincoln  in  a  transaction  which,  though  innocent 
and  commonplace  in  itself,  was  blown  by  rumor  and 
surmise  into  a  revolting  and  deplorable  scandal.  A  con- 
jectural lie,  although  mean,  misshapen,  and  very  small 
at  its  birth,  grew  at  length  into  a  tempest  of  defamation, 
whose  last  echoes  were  not  heard  until  its  noble  victim 
had  yielded  his  life  to  a  form  of  assassination  only  a 
trifle  more  deadly. 

Mr.  Lincoln  was  painted  as  the  prime  mover  in  a 
scene  of  fiendish  levity  more  atrocious  than  the  world 
had  ever  witnessed  since  human  nature  was  shamed  and 
degraded  by  the  capers  of  Nero  and  Commodus.  I 
refer  to  what  is  known  as  the  Antietam  song-singing; 
and  I  propose  to  show  that  the  popular  construction 
put  upon  that  incident  was  wholly  destitute  of  truth. 

Mr.  Lincoln  persistently  declined  to  read  the  harsh 
comments  of  the  newspaper  press  and  the  fierce  mouth- 
ings  of  platform  orators ;  and  under  his  advice  I  as 
persistently  refused  to  make  any  public  statement  con- 
cerning that  ill-judged  affair.  He  believed  with  Sir 
Walter  Scott,  that,  if  a  cause  of  action  is  good,  it  needs 


no  vindication  from  the  actor's  motives ;  if  bad,  it  can 
derive  none.  When  I  suggested  to  him  that  the  slander 
ought  to  be  refuted,  —  that  a  word  from  him  would 
silence  his  defamers,  —  Mr.  Lincoln  replied  with  great 
earnestness :  "  No,  Hill ;  there  has  already  been  too 
much  said  about  this  falsehood.  Let  the  thing  alone. 
If  I  have  not  established  character  enough  to  give  the 
lie  to  this  charge,  I  can  only  say  that  I  am  mistaken  in 
my  own  estimate  of  myself.  In  politics,  every  man 
must  skin  his  own  skunk.  These  fellows  are  welcome 
to  the  hide  of  this  one.  Its  body  has  already  given 
forth  its  unsavory  odor." 

The  newspapers  and  the  stump-speakers  went  on 
"  stuffing  the  ears  of  men  with  false  reports  "  until  the 
fall  of  1864,  when  I  showed  to  Mr.  Lincoln  a  letter,  of 
which  the  following  is  a  copy.  It  is  a  fair  sample  of 
hundreds  of  letters  received  by  me  about  that  time, 
the  Antietam  incident  being  then  discussed  with  in- 
creased virulence  and  new  accessions  of  false  coloring. 

PHILADELPHIA,  Sept.  10,  1864. 

Dear  Sir,  —  Enclosed  is  an  extract  from  the  New  York 
"  World  "  of  Sept.  9,  1864  :  — 

"ONE  OF  MR.  LINCOLN'S  JOKES.  — The  second  verse  of 
our  campaign  song  published  on  this  page  was  probably 
suggested  by  an  incident  which  occurred  on  the  battle-field  of 
Antietam  a  few  days  after  the  fight.  While  the  President 
was  driving  over  the  field  in  an  ambulance,  accompanied  by 
Marshal  Lamon,  General  McClellan,  and  another  officer, 
heavy  details  of  men  were  engaged  in  the  task  of  burying 



the  dead.  The  ambulance  had  just  reached  the  neighbor- 
hood of  the  old  stone  bridge,  where  the  dead  were  piled 
highest,  when  Mr.  Lincoln,  suddenly  slapping  Marshal  Lamon 
on  the  knee,  exclaimed :  '  Come,  Lamon,  give  us  that  song 
about  Picayune  Butler  ;  McClellan  has  never  heard  it.' 
'  Not  now,  if  you  please,'  said  General  McClellan,  with  a 
shudder ;  '  I  would  prefer  to  hear  it  some  other  place  and 

This  story  has  been  repeated  in  the  New  York  "  World  " 
almost  daily  for  the  last  three  months.  Until  now  it  would 
have  been  useless  to  demand  its  authority.  By  this  article 
it  limits  the  inquiry  to  three  persons  as  its  authority,  — 
Marshal  Lamon,  another  officer,  and  General  McClellan. 
That  it  is  a  damaging  story,  if  believed,  cannot  be  disputed. 
That  it  is  believed  by  some,  or  that  they  pretend  to  believe 
it,  is  evident  by  the  accompanying  verse  from  the  doggerel, 
in  which  allusion  is  made  to  it :  — 

"  Abe  may  crack  his  jolly  jokes 
O'er  bloody  fields  of  stricken  battle, 
While  yet  the  ebbing  life-tide  smokes 
From  men  that  die  like  butchered  cattle ; 
He,  ere  yet  the  guns  grow  cold, 
To  pimps  and  pets  may  crack  his  stories,'  etc. 

I  wish  to  ask  you,  sir,  in  behalf  of  others  as  well  as 
myself,  whether  any  such  occurrence  took  place  ;  or  if  it  did 
not  take  place,  please  to  state  who  that  "other  officer  "  was, 
if  there  was  any  such,  in  the  ambulance  in  which  the  Presi- 
dent "  was  driving  over  the  field  [  of  Antietam  ]  whilst 
details  of  men  were  engaged  in  the  task  of  burying  the 
dead."  You  will  confer  a  great  favor  by  an  immediate  reply. 
Most  respectfully  your  obedient  servant, 


•Along  with  the  above  I  submitted  to  Mr.  Lincoln 
my  own  draft  of  what  I  conceived  to  be  a  suitable 


reply.  The  brutal  directness  and  falsity  of  the  "  World's  " 
charge,  and  the  still  more  brutal  and  insulting  character 
of  the  doggerel  with  which  it  was  garnished,  impelled 
me  to  season  my  reply  to  Mr.  Perkins's  letter  with  a 
large  infusion  of  "  vinegar  and  gall."  After  carefully 
reading  both  letters,  Mr.  Lincoln  shook  his  head.  "  No, 
Lamon,"  said  he,  "I  would  not  publish  this  reply;  it 
is  too  belligerent  in  tone  for  so  grave  a  matter.  There  is 
a  heap  of  '  cussedness '  mixed  up  with  your  usual  amia- 
bility, and  you  are  at  times  too  fond  of  a  fight.  If  I 
were  you,  I  would  simply  state  the  facts  as  they  were. 
I  would  give  the  statement  as  you  have  here,  without  the 
pepper  and  salt.  Let  me  try  my  hand  at  it."  He  then 
took  up  a  pen  and  wrote  the  following.  It  was  to  be 
copied  by  me  and  forwarded  to  Mr.  Perkins  as  my  refuta- 
tion of  the  slander. 

"The  President  has  known  me  intimately  for  nearly  twenty 
years,  and  has  often  heard  me  sing  little  ditties.  The  battle 
of  Antietam  was  fought  on  the  I7th  day  of  September,  1862. 
On  the  first  day  of  October,  just  two  weeks  after  the  battle, 
the  President,  with  some  others  including  myself,  started  from 
Washington  to  visit  the  Army,  reaching  Harper's  Ferry  at 
noon  of  that  day.  In  a  short  while  General  McClellan  came 
from  his  headquarters  near  the  battle-ground,  joined  the 
President,  and  with  him  reviewed  the  troops  at  Bolivar 
Heights  that  afternoon,  and  at  night  returned  to  his  head- 
quarters, leaving  the  President  at  Harper's  Ferry.  On  the 
morning  of  the  second  the  President,  with  General  Sumner, 
reviewed  the  troops  respectively  at  Loudon  Heights  and 
Maryland  Heights,  and  at  about  noon  started  to  General 
McClellan's  headquarters,  reaching  there  only  in  time  to  see 


very  little  before  night.  On  the  morning  of  the  third  all 
started  on  a  review  of  the  third  corps  and  the  cavalry,  in 
the  vicinity  of  the  Antietam  battle-ground.  After  getting 
through  with  General  Burnside's  corps,  at  the  suggestion  of 
General  McClellan  he  and  the  President  left  their  horses  to 
be  led,  and  went  into  an  ambulance  or  ambulances  to  go  to 
General  Fitz  John  Porter's  corps,  which  was  two  or  three 
miles  distant.  I  am  not  sure  whether  the  President  and 
General  McClellan  were  in  the  same  ambulance,  or  in  differ- 
ent ones  ;  but  myself  and  some  others  were  in  the  same  with 
the  President.  On  the  way,  and  on  no  part  of  the  battle- 
ground, and  on  what  suggestions  I  do  not  remember,  the 
President  asked  me  to  sing  the  little  sad  song  that  follows, 
which  he  had  often  heard  me  sing,  and  had  always  seemed 
to  like  very  much.  I  sang  it.  After  it  was  over,  some 
one  of  the  party  (I  do  not  think  it  was  the  President)  asked 
me  to  sing  something  else  ;  and  I  sang  two  or  three  little 
comic  things,  of  which  'Picayune  Butler'  was  one.  Porter's 
corps  was  reached  and  reviewed;  then  the  battle-ground  was 
passed  over,  and  the  most  noted  parts  examined  ;  then,  in 
succession,  the  cavalry  and  Franklin's  corps  were  reviewed, 
and  the  President  and  party  returned  to  General  McClellan's 
headquarters  at  the  end  of  a  very  hard,  hot,  and  dusty  day's 
work.  Next  day,  the  4th,  the  President  and  General  McClel- 
lan visited  such  of  the  wounded  as  still  remained  in  the 
vicinity,  including  the  now  lamented  General  Richardson; 
then  proceeded  to  and  examined  the  South-Mountain  battle- 
ground, at  which  point  they  parted,  —  General  McClellan 
returning  to  his  camp,  and  the  President  returning  to  Wash- 
ington, seeing,  on  the  way,  General  Hartsoff,  who  lay 
wounded  at  Frederick  Town. 

"This  is  the  whole  story  of  the  singing  and  its  surround- 
ings. Neither  General  McClellan  nor  any  one  else  made 
any  objections  to  the  singing  ;  the  place  was  not  on  the  battle- 
field ;  the  time  was  sixteen  days  after  the  battle ;  no  dead 


body  was  seen  during  the  whole  time  the  President  was  ab- 
sent from  Washington,  nor  even  a  grave  that  had  not  been 
rained  on  since  it  was  made." 

This  perfectly  truthful  statement  was  written  by  Mr. 
Lincoln  about  the  i2th  of  September,  1864,  less  than 
two  years  after  the  occurrence  of  the  events  therein 
described.  It  was  done  slowly,  and  with  great  delibera- 
tion and  care.  The  statement,  however,  was  never 
made  public.  Mr.  Lincoln  said  to  me :  "  You  know, 
Hill,  that  this  is  the  truth  and  the  whole  truth  about  that 
affair ;  but  I  dislike  to  appear  as  an  apologist  for  an  act 
of  my  own  which  I  know  was  right.  Keep  this  paper, 
and  we  will  see  about  it."  The  momentous  and  all-en- 
grossing events  of  the  war  caused  the  Antietam  episode 
to  be  forgotten  by  the  President  for  a  time ;  the  state- 
ment was  not  given  to  the  press,  but  has  remained  in 
my  possession  until  this  day. 

Mark  how  simple  the  explanation  is  !  Mr.  Lincoln 
did  not  ask  me  to  sing  "Picayune  Butler."  No  song 
was  sung  on  the  battle-field.  The  singing  occurred  on 
the  way  from  Burnside's  corps  to  Fitz  John  Porter's 
corps,  some  distance  from  the  battle-ground,  and  six- 
teen days  after  the  battle.  Moreover,  Mr.  Lincoln  had 
said  to  me,  "  Lamon,  sing  one  of  your  little  sad  songs," 
—  and  thereby  hangs  a  tale  which  is  well  worth  the  tell- 
ing, as  it  illustrates  a  striking  phase  of  Mr.  Lincoln's 
character  which  has  never  been  fully  revealed. 

I  knew  well  what  Mr.  Lincoln  meant  by  "  the  little 
sad  songs."  The  sentiment  that  prompted  him  to  call 


for  such  a  song  had  its  history,  and  one  of  deep  and 
touching  interest  to  me.  One  "  little  sad  song  "  —  a 
simple  ballad  entitled  "Twenty  Years  Ago" — was, 
above  all  others,  his  favorite.  He  had  no  special  fond- 
ness for  operatic  music;  he  loved  simple  ballads  and 
ditties,  such  as  the  common  people  sing,  whether  of  the 
comic  or  pathetic  kind ;  but  no  one  in  the  list  touched 
his  great  heart  as  did  the  song  of  "Twenty  Years  Ago." 
Many  a  time,  in  the  old  days  of  our  familiar  friendship 
on  the  Illinois  circuit,  and  often  at  the  White  House 
when  he  and  I  were  alone,  have  I  seen  him  in  tears 
while  I  was  rendering,  in  my  poor  way,  that  homely 
melody.  The  late  Judge  David  Davis,  the  Hon.  Leonard 
Swett,  and  Judge  Corydon  Beckwith  were  equally  partial 
to  the  same  ballad.  Often  have  I  seen  those  great  men 
overcome  by  the  peculiar  charm  they  seemed  to  find  in 
the  sentiment  and  melody  of  that  simple  song.  The 
following  verses  seemed  to  affect  Mr.  Lincoln  more 
deeply  than  any  of  the  others  :  — 

"  I  've  wandered  to  the  village,  Tom ;  I  've  sat  beneath  the  tree 
Upon  the  schoolhouse  play-ground,  that  sheltered  you  and  me: 
But  none  were  left  to  greet  me,  Tom,  and  few  were  left  to  know 
Who  played  with  us  upon  the  green,  some  twenty  years  ago. 

"  Near  by  the  spring,  upon  the  elm  you  know  I  cut  your  name,  — 
Your  sweetheart's  just  beneath  it,  Tom;  and  you  did  mine  the 

Some  heartless  wretch  has  peeled  the  bark,  —  't  was  dying  sure 

but  slow, 
Just  as  she  died  whose  name  you  cut,  some  twenty  years  ago. 

"  My  lids  have  long  been  dry,  Tom,  but  tears  came  to  my  eyes ; 
I  thought  of  her  I  loved  so  well,  those  early  broken  ties: 
I  visited  the  old  churchyard,  and  took  some  flowers  to  strew 
Upon  the  graves  of  these  we  loved,  some  twenty  years  ago." 


This  is  the  song  Mr.  Lincoln  called  for,  and  the  one  I 
sang  to  him  in  the  vicinity  of  Antietam.  He  was  at  the 
time  weary  and  sad.  As  I  well  knew  it  would,  the  song 
only  deepened  his  sadness.  I  then  did  what  I  had  done 
many  times  before  :  I  startled  him  from  his  melancholy 
by  striking  up  a  comic  air,  singing  also  a  snatch  from 
"Picayune  Butler,"  which  broke  the  spell  of  "  the  little 
sad  song,"  and  restored  somewhat  his  accustomed  easy 
humor.  It  was  not  the  first  time  I  had  pushed  hilarity 
—  simulated  though  it  was  —  to  an  extreme  for  his  sake. 
I  had  often  recalled  him  from  a  pit  of  melancholy  into 
which  he  was  prone  to  descend,  by  a  jest,  a  comic  song, 
or  a  provoking  sally  of  a  startling  kind ;  and  Mr.  Lincoln 
always  thanked  me  afterward  for  my  well-timed  rudeness 
"  of  kind  intent." 

This  reminds  me  of  one  or  two  little  rhythmic  shots  I 
often  fired  at  him  in  his  melancholy  moods,  and  it  was  a 
kind  of  nonsense  that  he  always  keenly  relished.  One 
was  a  parody  on  "  Life  on  the  Ocean  Wave." 

Mr.  Lincoln  would  always  laugh  immoderately  when  I 
sang  this  jingling  nonsense  to  him.  It  reminded  him  of 
the  rude  and  often  witty  ballads  that  had  amused  him  in 
his  boyhood  days.  He  was  fond  of  negro  melodies,  and 
"The  Blue-Tailed  Fly"  was  a  favorite.  He  often  called 
for  that  buzzing  ballad  when  we  were  alone,  and  he  wanted 
to  throw  off  the  weight  of  public  and  private  cares. 

A  comic  song  in  the  theatre  always  restored  Mr. 
Lincoln's  cheerful  good-humor.  But  while  he  had  a 
great  fondness  for  witty  and  mirth-provoking  ballads, 


our  grand  old  patriotic  airs  and  songs  of  the  tender  and 
sentimental  kind  afforded  him  the  deepest  pleasure. 
"Ben  Bolt"  was  one  of  his  favorite  ballads;  so  was 
"The  Sword  of  Bunker  Hill ;  "  and  he  was  always  deeply 
moved  by  "The  Lament  of  the  Irish  Emigrant,"  espe- 
cially the  following  touching  lines  :  — 

"  I  'm  very  lonely  now,  Mary, 

For  the  poor  make  no  new  friends ; 
But,  oh,  they  love  the  better  still 

The  few  our  Father  sends  1 
And  you  were  all  I  had,  Mary, 

My  blessing  and  my  pride; 
There  's  nothing  left  to  care  for  now, 

Since  my  poor  Mary  died." 

Many  examples  can  be  given  illustrative  of  this  phase 
of  Mr.  Lincoln's  character, — the  blending  of  the  mirth- 
ful and  the  melancholy  in  his  singular  love  of  music  and 
verse.  When  he  was  seventeen  years  old,  his  sister  was 
married.  The  festivities  of  the  occasion  were  made 
memorable  by  a  song  entitled  "  Adam  and  Eve's  Wed- 
ding Song,"  which  many  believed  was  composed  by  Mr. 
Lincoln  himself.  The  conceits  embodied  in  the  verses 
were  old  before  Mr.  Lincoln  was  born ;  but  there  is  some 
intrinsic  as  well  as  extrinsic  evidence  to  show  that  the 
doggerel  itself  was  his. 


When  Adam  was  created,  he  dwelt  in  Eden's  shade, 
As  Moses  has  recorded ;  and  soon  an  Eve  was  made. 

Ten  thousand  times  ten  thousand 

Of  creatures  swarmed  around 

Before  a  bride  was  formed, 

And  yet  no  mate  was  found. 


The  Lord  then  was  not  willing 
The  man  should  be  alone, 
But  caused  a  sleep  upon  him, 
And  took  from  him  a  bone. 

And  closed  the  flesh  in  that  place  of; 
And  then  he  took  the  same, 
And  of  it  made  a  woman, 
And  brought  her  to  the  man. 

Then  Adam  he  rejoiced 
To  see  his  loving  bride,  — 
A  part  of  his  own  body, 
The  product  of  his  side. 

This  woman  was  not  taken 
From  Adam's  feet,  we  see  ; 
So  he  must  not  abuse  her, 
The  meaning  seems  to  be. 

This  woman  was  not  taken 
From  Adam's  head,  we  know; 
To  show  she  must  not  rule  him, 
'T  is  evidently  so. 

This  woman  she  was  taken 
From  under  Adam's  arm  ; 
So  she  must  be  protected 
From  injuries  and  harm. 

But  the  lines  which  Mr.  Lincoln  liked  best  of  all,  and 
which  were  repeated  by  him  more  often  than  any  other, 
were  — 

"  Oh,  why  should  the  spirit  of  mortal  be  proud  ? " 

Mr.  Carpenter  in  his  "  Six  Months  at  the  White  House  " 
gives  them  in  full  as  follows  :  — 

"Oh,  why  should  the  spirit  of  mortal  be  proud  ? 
Like  a  swift-fleeting  meteor,  a  fast-flying  cloud, 
A  flash  of  the  lightning,  a  break  of  the  wave, 
He  passeth  from  life  to  his  rest  in  the  grave. 


"  The  leaves  of  the  oak  and  the  willow  shall  fade, 
Be  scattered  around,  and  together  be  laid  ; 
And  the  young  and  the  old,  and  the  low  and  the  high, 
Shall  moulder  to  dust,  and  together  shall  lie. 

"  The  infant  a  mother  attended  and  loved  ; 
The  mother  that  infant's  affection  who  proved  ; 
The  husband  that  mother  and  infant  who  blest,  — 
Each,  all,  are  away  to  their  dwellings  of  rest. 

"The  maid  on  whose  cheek,  on  whose  brow,  in  whose  eye, 
Shone  beauty  and  pleasure,  her  triumphs  are  by; 
And  the  memory  of  those  who  loved  her  and  praised, 
Are  alike  from  the  minds  of  the  living  erased. 

"  The  hand  of  the  king  that  the  sceptre  hath  borne, 
The  brow  of  the  priest  that  the  mitre  hath  worn, 
The  eye  of  the  sage,  and  the  heart  of  the  brave, 
Are  hidden  and  lost  in  the  depths  of  the  grave. 

"  The  peasant  whose  lot  was  to  sow  and  to  reap, 
The  herdsman  who  climbed  with  his  goats  up  the  steep, 
The  beggar  who  wandered  in  search  of  his  bread, 
Have  faded  away  like  the  grass  that  we  tread. 

"The  saint  who  enjoyed  the  communion  of  Heaven, 
The  sinner  who  dared  to  remain  untorgiven, 
The  wise  and  the  foolish,  the  guilty  and  just, 
Have  quietly  mingled  their  bones  in  the  dust. 

"  So  the  multitude  goes,  like  the  flower  or  the  weed, 
That  withers  away  to  let  others  succeed ; 
So  the  multitude  comes,  even  those  we  behold, 
To  repeat  every  tale  that  has  often  been  told. 

"  For  we  are  the  same  our  fathers  have  been ; 
We  see  the  same  sights  our  fathers  have  seen ; 
We  drink  the  same  stream,  we  view  the  same  sun, 
And  run  the  same  course  our  fathers  have  run. 

"  The  thoughts  we  are  thinking  our  fathers  would  think ; 
From  the  death  we  are  shrinking  our  fathers  would  shrink; 
To  the  life  we  are  clinging  they  also  would  cling, 
But  it  speeds  from  us  all  like  a  bird  on  the  wing. 


"  They  loved,  but  the  story  we  cannot  unfold  ; 
They  scorned,  but  the  heart  of  the  haughty  is  cold  ; 
They  grieved,  but  no  wail  from  their  slumber  will  come ; 
They  joyed,  but  the  tongue  of  their  gladness  is  dumb. 

"They  died,  —  ay,  they  died  :  we  things  that  are  now, 
That  walk  on  the  turf  that  lies  over  their  brow, 
And  make  in  their  dwellings  a  transient  abode, 
Meet  the  things  that  they  met  on  their  pilgrimage  road. 

"Yea,  hope  and  despondency,  pleasure  and  pain, 
Are  mingled  together  in  sunshine  and  rain  ; 
And  the  smile  and  the  tear,  the  song  and  the  dirge, 
Still  follow  each  other  like  surge  upon  surge. 

"  'T  is  the  wink  of  an  eye,  't  is  the  draught  of  a  breath, 
From  the  blossom  of  health  to  the  paleness  of  death, 
From  the  gilded  saloon  to  the  bier  and  the  shroud,  — 
Oh,  why  should  the  spirit  of  mortal  be  proud  ?  " 

These  curiously  sad  lines  were  chosen  by  Mr.  Lincoln 
when  he  was  a  very  young  man  to  commemorate  a  grief 
which  lay  with  continual  heaviness  on  his  heart,  but  to 
which  he  could  not  otherwise  allude,  —  the  death  of 
Ann  Rutledge,  in  whose  grave  Mr.  Lincoln  said  that  his 
heart  lay  buried.  He  muttered  these  verses  as  he 
rambled  through  the  woods ;  he  was  heard  to  murmur 
them  as  he  slipped  into  the  village  at  nightfall;  they 
came  unbidden  to  his  lips  in  all  places,  and  very  often 
in  his  later  life.  In  the  year  of  his  nomination,  he 
repeated  them  to  some  friends.  When  he  had  finished 
them,  he  said  "  they  sounded  to  him  as  much  like  true 
poetry  as  anything  that  he  had  ever  heard."  The 
poem  is  now  his ;  it  is  imperishably  associated  with  his 
memory  and  interwoven  with  the  history  of  his  greatest 
sorrow.  Mr.  Lincoln's  adoption  of  it  has  saved  it  from 



oblivion,  and  translated  it  from  the  "  poet's  corner "  of 
the  country  newspaper  to  a  place  in  the  story  of  his 
own  life. 

But  enough  has  been  given  to  show  that  Mr.  Lincoln 
was  as  incapable  of  insulting  the  dead,  in  the  manner 
credited  to  him  in  the  Antietam  episode,  as  he  was  of 
committing  mean  and  unmanly  outrages  upon  the  living. 
If  hypercritical  and  self-appointed  judges  are  still  dis- 
posed to  award  blame  for  anything  that  happened  on 
that  occasion,  let  their  censure  fall  upon  me,  and  not 
upon  the  memory  of  the  illustrious  dead,  who  was  guilt- 
less of  wrong  and  without  the  shadow  of  blame  for  the 
part  he  bore  in  that  misjudged  affair.  My  own  part  in 
the  incident,  in  the  light  of  the  facts  here  given,  needs 
no  apology. 



NO  sketch  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  character  can  be  called 
complete  which  does  not  present  him  as  he 
appeared  at  his  own  fireside,  showing  his  love  for  his 
own  children,  his  tenderness  toward  the  little  ones 
generally,  and  how  in  important  emergencies  he  was 
influenced  by  them.  A  great  writer  has  said  that  it  were 
"  better  to  be  driven  out  from  among  men  than  to  be 
disliked  by  children."  So  Mr.  Lincoln  firmly  believed ; 
and  whenever  it  chanced  that  he  gave  offence  to  a 
child  unwittingly  he  never  rested  until  he  had  won 
back  its  favor  and  affection.  He  beheld  in  the  face 
of  a  little  child  a  record  of  innocence  and  love,  of 
truth  and  trust ;  and  in  the  society  of  children  he  was 
always  happy. 

Owing,  perhaps,  to  his  homely  countenance  and  un- 
gainly figure,  strange  children  generally  repelled  his  first 
advances ;  but  I  never  saw  him  fail  to  win  the  affection 
of  a  child  when  its  guileless  friendship  became  a  matter 
of  interest  to  him.  He  could  persuade  any  child  from 
the  arms  of  its  mother,  nurse,  or  play-fellow,  there  being 
a  peculiar  fascination  in  his  voice  and  manner  which 
the  little  one  could  not  resist.  As  a  student  of  child 


nature  and  a  lover  of  its  artless  innocence,  he  had  no 
patience  with  people  who  practise  upon  the  credulity  of 
children ;  and  it  was  a  rule  of  his  life  never  to  mislead  a 
child,  even  in  the  most  trifling  matter,  or  if  in  his  power 
to  prevent  it  to  be  misled  or  deceived  by  others.  On 
making  the  acquaintance  of  a  child  he  at  once  became 
its  friend,  and  never  afterward  forgot  its  face  or  the 
circumstances  under  which  the  acquaintance  was  formed ; 
for  his  little  friends  always  made  some  impression  on  his 
mind  and  feelings  that  was  certain  to  be  lasting. 

A  striking  instance  of  this  character  deserves  especial 
mention.  Shortly  after  his  first  election  to  the  Presi- 
dency he  received  a  pleasant  letter  from  a  little  girl 
living  in  a  small  town  in  the  State  of  New  York.  The 
child  told  him  that  she  had  seen  his  picture,  and  it  was 
her  opinion,  as  she  expressed  it  in  her  artless  way,  that 
he  "  would  be  a  better  looking  man  if  he  would  let  his 
beard  grow."  Mr.  Lincoln  passed  that  New  York  town 
on  his  way  to  Washington,  and  his  first  thought  on 
reaching  the  place  was  about  his  little  correspondent. 
In  his  brief  speech  to  the  people  he  made  a  pleasing 
reference  to  the  child  and  her  charming  note.  "This 
little  lady,"  said  he,  "saw  from  the  first  that  great 
improvement  might  be  made  in  my  personal  appearance. 
You  all  see  that  I  am  not  a  very  handsome  man ;  and  to 
be  honest  with  you,  neither  I  nor  any  of  my  friends  ever 
boasted  very  much  about  my  personal  beauty."  He 
then  passed  his  hand  over  his  face  and  continued : 
"  But  I  intend  to  follow  that  little  girl's  advice,  and  if 


she  is  present  I  would  like  to  speak  to  her."  The  child 
came  forward  timidly,  and  was  warmly  greeted  by  the 
President-elect.  He  took  her  in  his  arms  and  kissed 
her  affectionately,  expressing  the  hope  that  he  might 
have  the  pleasure  of  seeing  his  little  friend  again 

Shortly  after  this,  Mr.  Lincoln,  for  the  first  time  in  his 
life,  allowed  his  beard  to  grow  all  over  his  face,  with  the 
exception  of  the  upper  lip;  and  this  fashion  he  con- 
tinued as  long  as  he  lived.  In  speaking  of  the  incident 
which  led  him  to  wear  a  full  beard,  he  afterward  re- 
marked, reflectively,  "  How  small  a  thing  will  sometimes 
change  the  whole  aspect  of  our  lives  !  " 

That  Mr.  Lincoln  realized  that  an  improvement  was 
necessary  in  his  personal  appearance  is  evidenced  by 
many  amusing  stories  told  by  him.  The  one  he  espe- 
cially enjoyed  telling  was,  how  once,  when  "  riding  the 
circuit,"  he  was  accosted  in  the  cars  by  a  stranger,  who 
said,  "  Excuse  me,  sir,  but  I  have  an  article  in  my  pos- 
session which  belongs  to  you."  "How  is  that?"  Mr. 
Lincoln  asked,  much  astonished.  The  stranger  took  a 
knife  from  his  pocket,  saying,  "This  knife  was  placed 
in  my  hands  some  years  ago  with  the  injunction  that 
I  was  to  keep  it  until  I  found  a  man  uglier  than  myself. 
I  have  carried  it  from  that  time  to  this.  Allow  me 
now  to  say,  sir,  that  I  think  you  are  fairly  entitled  to 
the  property." 

Mr.  Carpenter,  the  artist  who  painted  the  picture  of 
"  The  Proclamation  of  Emancipation,"  tells  in  his  book 


of  an  incident  which  occurred  the  day  following  the 
adjournment  of  the  Baltimore  Convention :  "  Various 
political  organizations  called  to  pay  their  respects  to  the 
President.  While  the  Philadelphia  delegation  was  being 
presented,  the  chairman  of  that  body,  in  introducing  one 
of  the  members,  said  :  '  Mr.  President,  this  is  Mr.  S.  of 
the  second  district  of  our  State,  —  a  most  active  and 
earnest  friend  of  yours  and  the  cause.  He  has,  among 
other  things,  been  good  enough  to  paint,  and  present  to 
our  league  rooms,  a  most  beautiful  portrait  of  yourself.' 
Mr.  Lincoln  took  the  gentleman's  hand  in  his,  and 
shaking  it  cordially  said,  with  a  merry  voice,  'I  pre- 
sume, sir,  in  painting  your  beautiful  portrait,  you  took 
your  idea  of  me  from  my  principles  and  not  from 
my  person.' " 

Before  leaving  the  old  town  of  Springfield,  Mr. 
Lincoln  was  often  seen,  on  sunny  afternoons,  striking 
out  on  foot  to  a  neighboring  wood,  attended  by  his  little 
sons.  There  he  would  romp  with  them  as  a  companion, 
and  enter  with  great  delight  into  all  their  childish  sports. 
This  joyous  companionship  with  his  children  suffered 
no  abatement  when  he  became  a  resident  of  the  White 
House  and  took  upon  himself  the  perplexing  cares  of  his 
great  office.  To  find  relief  from  those  cares  he  would 
call  his  boys  to  some  quiet  part  of  the  house,  throw 
himself  at  full  length  upon  the  floor,  and  abandon 
himself  to  their  fun  and  frolic  as  merrily  as  if  he  had 
been  of  their  own  age.  The  two  children  who  were  his 
play-fellows  in  these  romping  scenes  the  first  year  of 


his  residence  at  the  Executive  Mansion  were  Willie  and 
Thomas,  the  latter  of  whom  he  always  called  "  Tad ; " 
and  these  children  were  the  youngest  of  his  family. 

In  February,  1862,  this  fond  father  was  visited  by  a 
sorrowful  bereavement.  The  Executive  Mansion  was 
turned  into  a  house  of  mourning.  Death  had  chosen  a 
shining  mark,  and  the  beloved  Willie,  the  apple  of  his 
father's  eye,  the  brightest  and  most  promising  of  his 
children,  was  taken  away.  The  dreadful  stroke  wellnigh 
broke  the  President's  heart,  and  certainly  an  affliction 
more  crushing  never  fell  to  the  lot  of  man.  In  the 
lonely  grave  of  the  little  one  lay  buried  Mr.  Lincoln's 
fondest  hopes,  and,  strong  as  he  was  in  the  matter  of 
self-control,  he  gave  way  to  an  overmastering  grief, 
which  became  at  length  a  serious  menace  to  his  health. 
Never  was  there  witnessed  in  an  American  household  a 
scene  of  distress  more  touching  than  that  in  which  the 
President  and  Mrs.  Lincoln  mingled  their  tears  over  the 
coffin  that  inclosed  the  lifeless  form  of  their  beloved 
child.  A  deep  and  settled  despondency  took  possession 
of  Mr.  Lincoln;  and  when  it  is  remembered  that  this 
calamity  —  for  such  it  surely  was  —  befell  him  at  a 
critical  period  of  the  war,  just  when  the  resources 
of  his  mighty  intellect  were  most  in  demand,  it  will  be 
understood  how  his  affliction  became  a  matter  of  the 
gravest  concern  to  the  whole  country,  and  especially  to 
those  who  stood  in  close  personal  and  official  relations 
with  him. 

The  measures  taken  by  his  friends  to  break  the  force 


of  his  great  grief,  and  to  restore  him  to  something  like 
his  old-time  cheerfulness,  seemed  for  a  while  unavailing. 
The  nearest  approach  to  success  in  this  humane  endeavor 
was  made,  I  believe,  by  the  Rev.  Dr.  Vinton,  of  Trinity 
Church,  New  York,  who  visited  the  White  House  not 
long  after  the  death  of  Willie.  The  doctor's  effort  led 
to  a  very  remarkable  scene,  one  that  shows  how  terrible 
is  a  great  man's  grief.  Mr.  Lincoln  had  a  high  respect 
for  Dr.  Vinton.  He  knew  him  to  be  an  able  man,  and 
believed  him  to  be  conscientious  and  sincere.  The 
good  doctor,  profoundly  impressed  with  the  importance 
of  his  mission,  determined  that  in  administering  conso- 
lation to  the  stricken  President  it  would  be  necessary  to 
use  great  freedom  of  speech.  Mr.  Lincoln  was  over- 
burdened with  the  weight  of  his  public  cares,  weak  in 
body,  and  sick  in  mind ;  and  his  thoughts  seemed  to 
linger  constantly  about  the  grave  of  his  lost  darling.  Ill 
health  and  depression  made  him  apparently  listless,  and 
this  the  worthy  doctor  mistook  for  a  sign  of  rebellion 
against  the  just  decree  of  Providence.  He  began  by 
exhorting  the  President  to  remember  his  duty  to  the 
common  Father  who  "giveth  and  taketh  away,"  and  to 
whom  we  owe  cheerful  obedience  and  thanks  for  worldly 
afflictions  as  well  as  for  temporal  benefits.  He  chided 
Mr.  Lincoln  for  giving  way  to  excessive  grief,  declaring 
without  reserve  that  the  indulgence  of  such  grief,  though 
natural,  was  sinful ;  that  greater  fortitude  was  demanded  ; 
that  his  duties  to  the  living  were  imperative  ;  and  that, 
as  the  chosen  leader  of  the  people  in  a  national  crisis, 


he  was  unfitting  himself  for  the  discharge  of  duties  and 
responsibilities  which  could  not  be  evaded.  Mr.  Lincoln 
listened  patiently  and  respectfully  for  a  time  to  this 
strong  and  pointed  exhortation.  He  was  evidently  much 
affected  by  it,  but  as  the  doctor  proceeded  he  became 
lost  in  his  own  reflections.  From  this  revery  he  was 
aroused  by  words  which  had  a  magical  effect. 

"  To  mourn  excessively  for  the  departed  as  lost," 
continued  Dr.  Vinton,  "  is  foreign  to  our  religion.  It 
belongs  not  to  Christianity,  but  to  heathenism.  Your 
son  is  alive  in  Paradise." 

When  these  last  words  were  uttered,  Mr.  Lincoln,  as 
if  suddenly  awakened  from  a  dream,  exclaimed,  "  Alive  ! 
alive  !  Surely  you  mock  me  ! "  These  magic  words  had 
startled  him,  and  his  countenance  showed  that  he  was 
profoundly  distressed. 

Without  heeding  the  President's  emotion,  the  doctor 
continued,  in  a  tone  of  deep  solemnity,  "  Seek  not  your 
son  among  the  dead,  for  he  is  not  there.  God  is  not 
the  God  of  the  dead,  but  of  the  living.  Did  not  the 
ancient  patriarch  mourn  for  his  son  as  dead?  'Joseph 
is  not,  and  Simeon  is  not,  and  ye  will  take  Benjamin 
also.'  The  fact  that  Benjamin  was  taken  away  made 
him  the  instrument,  eventually,  in  saving  the  whole 
family."  Applying  this  Scriptural  test,  the  doctor  told 
Mr.  Lincoln  that  his  little  son  had  been  called  by  the 
All- Wise  and  Merciful  Father  to  His  upper  kingdom ; 
that,  like  Joseph,  the  departed  boy  might  be  the  means 
of  saving  the  President's  household  ;  and  that  it  must  be 


considered  as  a  part  of  the  Lord's  plan  for  the  ultimate 
happiness  of  the  family. 

Mr.  Lincoln  was  deeply  moved  by  this  consolatory 
exhortation.  The  respected  divine  had  touched  a  re- 
sponsive chord.  His  strong  words,  spoken  with  such 
evident  sincerity  and  in  a  manner  so  earnest  and  impres- 
sive, brought  strength  as  well  as  comfort  to  the  illustrious 
mourner;  and  there  is  no  doubt  that  this  remarkable 
interview  had  a  good  effect  in  helping  to  recall  to  Mr. 
Lincoln  a  more  healthful  state  of  feeling,  and  in  restoring 
his  accustomed  self-control.  Willie  had  inherited  the 
amiable  disposition  and  a  large  share  of  the  talent  of  his 
father.  He  was  a  child  of  great  promise,  and  his  death 
was  sincerely  mourned  by  all  who  knew  him. 

Mr.  Lincoln's  fondness  for  his  children  knew  no 
bounds.  It  wellnigh  broke  his  heart  to  use  his  paternal 
authority  in  correcting  their  occasional  displays  of 
temper  or  insubordination ;  but  when  occasion  required 
the  sacrifice,  he  showed  great  firmness  in  teaching  them 
the  strictest  obedience.  I  remember  a  very  amusing 
instance  of  this  sort  of  contest  between  his  indulgent 
fondness  and  his  sense  of  what  was  due  to  his  guiding 
authority  as  a  father. 

At  the  time  to  which  I  refer,  Tad  seemed  to  his  fond 
father  the  most  lovable  object  on  earth.  That  fondness 
had  been  intensified  by  the  death  of  Willie  just  men- 
tioned. In  one  of  the  vacant  rooms  of  the  White  House 
Tad  had  fitted  up,  with  the  aid  of  the  servants,  a  minia- 
ture theatre.  The  little  fellow  had  rare  skill  and  good 


taste  in  such  matters,  and  after  long  and  patient  effort 
the  work  was  completed.  There  were  the  stage,  the 
orchestra,  the  parquet,  the  curtains,  and  all  the  parapher- 
nalia pertaining  to  what  he  called  "  a  real  theatre,"  and 
Tad  was  in  a  delirium  of  childish  joy.  About  this  time, 
just  after  the  review  of  Burnside's  division  of  the  army 
of  the  Potomac,  a  certain  photographer  came  to  the 
Executive  Mansion  to  make  some  stereoscopic  studies 
of  the  President's  office  for  Mr.  Carpenter,  who  had 
been  much  about  the  house.  Mr.  Carpenter  and  the 
photographer  appeared  at  the  same  time.  The  artists 
told  Mr.  Lincoln  that  they  must  have  a  dark  closet  in 
which  to  develop  their  pictures.  There  was  such  a  closet 
attached  to  the  room  which  Tad  had  appropriated  for 
his  theatre,  and  it  could  not  be  reached  without  passing 
through  the  room. 

With  Mr.  Lincoln's  permission  the  artists  took  pos- 
session of  the  "theatre,"  and  they  had  taken  several 
pictures  before  Tad  discovered  the  trespass  upon  his 
premises.  When  he  took  in  the  situation  there  was  an 
uproar.  Their  occupancy  of  his  "  theatre,"  without  his 
consent,  was  an  offence  that  stirred  his  wrath  into  an 
instant  blaze.  The  little  fellow  declared  indignantly 
that  he  would  not  submit  to  any  such  impudence.  He 
locked  the  door  and  carried  off  the  key.  The  artists 
hunted  him  up,  and  coaxed,  remonstrated,  and  begged, 
but  all  in  vain.  The  young  theatre  manager,  in  a  flame 
of  passion,  blamed  Carpenter  with  the  whole  outrage. 
He  declared  that  they  should  neither  use  his  room  nor 


go  into  it  to  get  their  instruments  and  chemicals.  "  No 
one,"  said  he,  "has  any  business  in  my  room,  unless 
invited  by  me,  and  I  never  invited  you."  Here  was  a 
pretty  state  of  things.  Tad  was  master  of  the  situation. 

Finally,  Mr.  Lincoln  was  appealed  to.  Tad  was 
called,  and  Mr.  Lincoln  said  to  him,  "  Go,  now,  and 
unlock  the  door."  The  offended  boy  went  off  to  his 
mother's  room,  muttering  a  positive  refusal  to  obey  his 
father's  command.  On  hearing  of  the  child's  disobedi- 
ence, Mr.  Lincoln  soon  had  the  key,  and  "  the  theatre  " 
was  again  invaded  by  the  artists.  Soon  after  this,  Mr. 
Lincoln  said  to  Carpenter,  half  apologetically :  "  Tad  is 
a  peculiar  child.  He  was  violently  excited  when  I 
went  to  him  for  the  key.  I  said  to  him,  '  Tad,  do  you 
know  that  you  are  making  your  father  very  unhappy? 
You  are  causing  a  deal  of  trouble.'  He  burst  into  tears, 
and  gave  up  the  key.  I  had  not  the  heart  to  say  much 
to  him  in  the  way  of  reproof,  for  the  little  man  certainly 
thought  his  rights  had  been  shamefully  disregarded." 
The  distress  which  this  unlucky  affair  brought  upon  his 
little  pet  caused  Mr.  Lincoln  more  concern  than  any- 
thing else  connected  with  it. 

During  the  first  year  of  the  war,  owing  to  the  great 
press  of  business,  it  was  at  times  difficult  to  get  at  the 
President.  Some  four  or  five  distinguished  gentlemen 
from  Kentucky,  who  had  come  to  visit  him  as  commis- 
sioners or  agents  from  that  State,  had  been  endeavoring, 
for  a  number  of  days,  without  success,  to  see  him.  Mr. 
Lincoln  having  learned  the  object  of  their  intended  visit  to 


him  through  some  source  or  other,  wanted  to  avoid  the 
interview  if  possible,  and  had  given  them  no  opportunity 
for  presenting  themselves.  One  day  after  waiting  in  the 
lobby  for  several  hours,  they  were  about  to  give  up  the 
effort  in  despair,  and  in  no  amiable  terms  expressed 
their  disappointment  as  they  turned  to  the  head  of  the 
stairs,  saying  something  about  "  seeing  old  Abe."  Tad 
caught  at  these  words,  and  asked  them  if  they  wanted 
to  see  "old  Abe,"  laughing  at  the  same  time.  "Yes," 
they  replied.  "Wait  a  minute,"  said  Tad,  and  he 
rushed  into  his  father's  office  and  said,  "  Papa,  may  I 
introduce  some  friends  to  you  ? "  His  father,  always 
indulgent  and  ready  to  make  him  happy,  kindly  said, 
"  Yes,  my  son,  I  will  see  your  friends."  Tad  went  to 
the  Kentuckians  again,  and  asked  a  very  dignified  look- 
ing gentleman  of  the  party  what  his  name  was.  He  was 
told  his  name.  He  then  said,  "Come,  gentlemen," 
and  they  followed  him.  Leading  them  up  to  Mr. 
Lincoln,  Tad,  with  much  dignity,  said,  "  Papa,  let  me 

introduce    to    you    Judge ,    of    Kentucky ;  "    and 

quickly  added,  "Now,  Judge,  you  introduce  the  other 
gentlemen."  The  introductions  were  gone  through  with, 
and  they  turned  out  to  be  the  gentlemen  Mr.  Lincoln 
had  been  avoiding  for  a  week.  Mr.  Lincoln  reached 
for  the  boy,  took  him  on  his  lap,  kissed  him,  and  told 
him  it  was  all  right,  and  that  he  had  introduced  his  friend 
like  a  little  gentleman  as  he  was.  Tad  was  eleven  years 
old  at  this  time. 

Mr.  Lincoln  was  pleased  with  Tad's  diplomacy,  and 


often  laughed  at  the  incident  as  he  told  others  of  it. 
One  day  while  caressing  the  boy,  he  asked  him  why 
he  called  those  gentlemen  "  his  friends."  "  Well,"  said 
Tad,  "I  had  seen  them  so  often,  and  they  looked  so 
good  and  sorry,  and  said  they  were  from  Kentucky, 
that  I  thought  they  must  be  our  friends."  "  That  is 
right,  my  son,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln;  "I  would  have  the 
whole  human  race  your  friends  and  mine,  if  it  were 



AMONG  the  many  historic  scenes  in  which  President 
Lincoln  was  an  actor  there  is  not  one,  perhaps, 
where  a  single  incident  gave  rise  to  speculations  so 
groundless  and  guesses  so  wide  of  the  truth  as  his  justly 
celebrated  Gettysburg  speech.*  Since  his  death  there 
has  been  an  enormous  expenditure,  not  to  say  a  very 
great  waste,  of  literary  talent  on  that  extraordinary 

*  Fourscore  and  seven  years  ago  our  fathers  brought  forth  on 
this  Continent  a  new  nation,  conceived, in  liberty,  and  dedicated 
to  the  proposition  that  all  men  are  created  equal. 

Now  we  are  engaged  in  a  civil  war,  testing  whether  that  nation, 
or  any  nation  so  conceived  and  so  dedicated,  can  long  endure.  We 
are  met  on  a  great  battle-field  of  that  war.  We  have  come  to 
dedicate  a  portion  of  that  field  as  a  final  resting-place  for  those 
who  gave  their  lives  that  that  nation  might  live.  It  is  altogether 
fitting  and  proper  that  we  should  do  this. 

But  in  a  larger  sense  we  cannot  dedicate,  we  cannot  conse- 
crate, we  cannot  hallow,  this  ground.  The  brave  men,  living 
and  dead,  who  struggled  here,  have  consecrated  it  far  above  our 
poor  power  to  add  or  detract.  The  world  will  little  note,  nor  long 
remember,  what  we  say  here  ;  but  it  can  never  forget  what  they  did 
here.  It  is  for  us  the  living,  rather,  to  be  dedicated  here  to 
the  unfinished  work  which  they  who  fought  here  have  thus  far  so 
nobly  advanced.  It  is  rather  for  us  to  be  here  dedicated  to  the 
great  task  remaining  before  us  ;  that  from  these  honored  dead  we 
take  increased  devotion  to  that  cause  for  which  they  gave  the  last 
full  measure  of  devotion ;  that  we  here  highly  resolve  that  these 
dead  shall  not  have  died  in  vain  ;  that  this  nation,  under  God,  shall 
have  a  new  birth  of  freedom  ;  and  that  government  of  the  people, 
by  the  people,  for  the  people,  shall  not  perish  from  the  earth. 


address,  as  there  has  been  on  almost  everything  else  he 
did,  or  was  supposed  to  have  done,  from  his  boyhood 
until  the  moment  of  his  assassination.  That  reporters, 
critics,  chroniclers,  eulogists,  flatterers,  and  biographers 
have  not  only  failed  to  give  a  true  account  of  that 
famous  speech,  but  that  they  have  subjected  Mr.  Lincoln's 
memory  to  hurtful  misrepresentation,  it  is  the  purpose 
of  this  chapter  to  show. 

It  was  my  good  fortune  to  have  known  Mr.  Lincoln 
long  and  well,  —  so  long  and  so  intimately  that  as  the 
shadows  lengthen  and  the  years  recede  I  am  more  and 
more  impressed  by  the  rugged  grandeur  and  nobility  of 
his  character,  his  strength  of  intellect,  and  his  singular 
purity  of  heart.  Surely  I  am  the  last  man  on  earth  to 
say  or  do  aught  in  derogation  of  his  matchless  worth, 
or  to  tarnish  the  fair  fame  of  him  who  was,  during  eigh- 
teen of  the  most  eventful  years  of  my  life,  a  constant, 
considerate,  and  never-failing  friend. 

The  world  has  long  since  conceded  that  Abraham 
Lincoln  was  great  in  all  the  elements  that  go  to  make  up 
human  greatness.  He  had  a  stamp  of  originality  entirely 
his  own.  With  his  unique  individuality  and  his  com- 
manding intellect  —  at  once  strong,  sagacious,  and  pro- 
foundly acute  and  critical  —  were  associated  a  mental 
integrity  and  a  moral  purpose  as  firm  as  granite,  a 
thorough  knowledge  of  himself,  and  a  modesty  that 
scorned  not  only  self-laudation  but  eulogy  by  others  for 
fame  or  achievements  not  his  own.  An  act  accomplished 
by  him,  either  in  his  character  of  a  citizen  or  as  a  public 


servant,  he  regarded  more  as  a  duty  discharged  than  as 
an  achievement  of  which  to  be  proud.  He  was  chari- 
table to  a  fault;  and  yet  no  man  ever  discriminated 
more  narrowly  in  forming  a  judgment  concerning  the 
character,  the  acts,  and  the  motives  of  other  men,  or 
had  a  keener  appreciation  of  merit  or  demerit  in  others. 
With  his  characteristic  honesty  and  simplicity  we  may 
well  suppose,  that,  were  he  alive  to-day,  he  would  feel 
under  little  obligation  to  the  swarm  of  fulsome  eulogists 
who  have  made  up  a  large  part  of  the  current  chronicles 
of  his  life  and  public  conduct  by  ascribing  to  him 
ornamental  virtues  which  he  never  possessed,  and 
motives,  purposes,  and  achievements  which  he  would 
promptly  disown  if  he  could  now  speak  for  himself. 

Discriminating  observers  and  students  of  history  have 
not  failed  to  note  the  fact  that  the  ceremony  of  Mr. 
Lincoln's  apotheosis  was  not  only  planned  but  executed  by 
men  who  were  unfriendly  to  him  while  he  lived,  and  that 
the  deification  took  place  with  showy  magnificence  some 
time  after  the  great  man's  lips  were  sealed  in  death. 
Men  who  had  exhausted  the  resources  of  their  skill  and 
ingenuity  in  venomous  detraction  of  the  living  Lincoln, 
especially  during  the  last  years  of  his  life,  were  the  first, 
when  the  assassin's  bullet  had  closed  the  career  of  the 
great-hearted  statesman,  to  undertake  the  self-imposed 
task  of  guarding  his  memory,  —  not  as  a  human  being 
endowed  with  a  mighty  intellect  and  extraordinary 
virtues,  but  as  a  god;  In  fact,  the  tragic  death  of  Mr. 
Lincoln  brought  a  more  fearful  panic  to  his  former 


traducers  than  to  his  friends.  The  latter's  legacy  was 
deep  sorrow  and  mourning ;  the  former  were  left  to  the 
humiliating  necessity  of  a  change  of  base  to  place  them- 
selves en  rapport  with  the  millions  who  mourned  the  loss 
of  their  greatest  patriot  and  statesman. 

If  there  was  one  form  of  flattery  more  offensive  to  the 
noble  and  manly  pride  of  Mr.  Lincoln  than  all  others, 
it  was  that  in  which  credit  was  given  him  for  a  meritori- 
ous deed  done  by  some  other  man,  or  which  ascribed 
to  him  some  sentimental  or  saintly  virtue  that  he  knew 
he  did  not  possess.  In  the  same  spirit  he  rejected  all 
commendations  or  flattering  compliments  touching  any- 
thing which  he  had  written  or  spoken,  when,  in  his  own 
judgment,  there  was  nothing  especially  remarkable  in 
the  speech  or  the  composition  referred  to.  Although 
superior,  I  readily  concede,  to  any  other  man  I  have 
ever  known,  Mr.  Lincoln  was  yet  thoroughly  human; 
and  with  his  exact  knowledge  of  his  own  character, — 
its  weakness  and  its  strength,  —  he  once  said  to  me, 
speaking  of  what  historians  and  biographers  might  say 
of  him,  "  Speak  of  me  as  I  am ;  nothing  extenuate,  nor 
set  down  aught  in  malice."  He  had  a  clear  perception 
of  the  value  of  that  history  which  is  truthful;  and  he 
believed  that  hosannas  sung  to  the  memory  of  the 
greatest  of  men,  as  if  they  were  demi-gods,  are  hurtful 
to  their  fame. 

A  day  or  two  before  the  dedication  of  the  National 
Cemetery  at  Gettysburg,  Mr.  Lincoln  told  me  that  he 
would  be  expected  to  make  a  speech  on  the  occasion; 


that  he  was  extremely  busy,  and  had  no  time  for  prepara- 
tion ;  and  that  he  greatly  feared  he  would  not  be  able  to 
acquit  himself  with  credit,  much  less  to  fill  the  measure 
of  public  expectation.  From  his  hat  (the  usual  recep- 
tacle for  his  private  notes  and  memoranda)  he  drew  a 
sheet  of  foolscap,  one  side  of  which  was  closely  written 
with  what  he  informed  me  was  a  memorandum  of  his 
intended  address.  This  he  read  to  me,  first  remarking 
that  it  was  not  at  all  satisfactory  to  him.  It  proved  to 
be  in  substance,  if  not  in  exact  words,  what  was  after- 
wards printed  as  his  famous  Gettysburg  speech. 

After  its  delivery  on  the  day  of  commemoration,  he 
expressed  deep  regret  that  he  had  not  prepared  it  with 
greater  care.  He  said  to  me  on  the  stand,  immediately 
after  concluding  the  speech  :  "  Lamon,  that  speech  won't 
scour!  It  is  a  flat  failure,  and  the  people  are  dis- 
appointed." (The  word  "  scour  "  he  often  used  in  ex- 
pressing his  positive  conviction  that  a  thing  lacked  merit, 
or  would  not  stand  the  test  of  close  criticism  or  the 
wear  of  time.)  He  seemed  deeply  concerned  about 
what  the  people  might  think  of  his  address ;  more  deeply, 
in  fact,  than  I  had  ever  seen  him  on  any  public  occasion. 
His  frank  and  regretful  condemnation  of  his  effort,  and 
more  especially  his  manner  of  expressing  that  regret, 
struck  me  as  somewhat  remarkable ;  and  my  own  im- 
pression was  deepened  by  the  fact  that  the  orator  of 
the  day,  Mr.  Everett,  and  Secretary  Seward  both  coin- 
cided with  Mr.  Lincoln  in  his  unfavorable  view  of  its 


The  occasion  was  solemn,  impressive,  and  grandly 
historic.  The  people,  it  is  true,  stood  apparently  spell- 
bound ;  and  the  vast  throng  was  hushed  and  awed  into 
profound  silence  while  Mr.  Lincoln  delivered  his  brief 
speech.  But  it  seemed  to  him  that  this  silence  and 
attention  to  his  words  arose  more  from  the  solemnity  of 
the  ceremonies  and  the  awful  scenes  which  gave  rise  to 
them,  than  from  anything  he  had  said.  He  believed 
that  the  speech  was  a  failure.  He  thought  so  at  the 
time,  and  he  never  referred  to  it  afterwards,  in  conversa- 
tion with  me,  without  some  expression  of  unqualified 
regret  that  he  had  not  made  the  speech  better  in  every 

On  the  platform  from  which  Mr.  Lincoln  delivered 
his  address,  and  only  a  moment  after  it  was  concluded, 
Mr.  Seward  turned  to  Mr.  Everett  and  asked  him  what 
he  thought  of  the  President's  speech.  Mr.  Everett 
replied,  "  It  is  not  what  I  expected  from  him.  I  am 
disappointed."  Then  in  his  turn  Mr.  Everett  asked, 
"  What  do  you  think  of  it,  Mr.  Seward?  "  The  response 
was,  "He  has  made  a  failure,  and  I  am  sorry  for  it. 
His  speech  is  not  equal  to  him."  Mr.  Seward  then 
turned  to  me  and  asked,  "Mr.  Marshal,  what  do  you 
think  of  it?"  I  answered,  "I  am  sorry  to  say  that  it 
does  not  impress  me  as  one  of  his  great  speeches." 

In  the  face  of  these  facts  it  has  been  repeatedly 
published  that  this  speech  was  received  by  the  audience 
with  loud  demonstrations  of  approval ;  that  "  amid  the 
tears,  sobs,  and  cheers  it  produced  in  the  excited  throng, 


the  orator  of  the  day,  Mr.  Everett,  turned  to  Mr.  Lincoln, 
grasped  his  hand  and  exclaimed,  'I  congratulate  you 
on  your  success ! '  adding  in  a  transport  of  heated 
enthusiasm,  'Ah,  Mr.  President,  how  gladly  would  I 
give  my  hundred  pages  to  be  the  author  of  your  twenty 
lines  ! '"  Nothing  of  the  kind  occurred.  It  is  a  slander 
on  Mr.  Everett,  an  injustice  to  Mr.  Lincoln,  and  a  falsi- 
fication of  history.  Mr.  Everett  could  not  have  used  the 
words  attributed  to  him,  in  the  face  of  his  own  con- 
demnation of  the  speech  uttered  a  moment  before,  with- 
out subjecting  himself  to  the  charge  of  being  a  toady  and 
a  hypocrite ;  and  he  was  neither  the  one  nor  the  other. 

As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  silence  during  the  delivery  of 
the  speech,  and  the  lack  of  hearty  demonstrations  of 
approval  immediately  after  its  close,  were  taken  by  Mr. 
Lincoln  as  certain  proof  that  it  was  not  well  received. 
In  that  opinion  we  all  shared.  If  any  person  then  pres- 
ent saw,  or  thought  he  saw,  the  marvellous  beauties  of 
that  wonderful  speech,  as  intelligent  men  in  all  lands 
now  see  and  acknowledge  them,  his  superabundant  cau- 
tion closed  his  lips  and  stayed  his  pen.  Mr.  Lincoln 
said  to  me  after  our  return  to  Washington,  "  I  tell  you, 
Hill,  that  speech  fell  on  the  audience  like  a  wet  blanket. 
I  am  distressed  about  it.  I  ought  to  have  prepared  it 
with  more  care."  Such  continued  to  be  his  opinion  of 
that  most  wonderful  of  all  his  platform  addresses  up  to 
the  time  of  his  death. 

I  state  it  as  a  fact,  and  without  fear  of  contradiction, 
that  this  famous  Gettysburg  speech  was  not  regarded  by 


the  audience  to  whom  it  was  addressed,  or  by  the  press 
and  people  of  the  United  States,  as  a  production  of 
extraordinary  merit,  nor  was  it  commented  on  as  such 
until  after  the  death  of  its  author.  Those  who  look 
thoughtfully  into  the  history  of  the  matter  must  own 
that  Mr.  Lincoln  was,  on  that  occasion,  "  wiser  than  he 
knew."  He  was  wiser  than  his  audience,  wiser  than  the 
great  scholars  and  orators  who  were  associated  with  him 
in  the  events  of  that  solemn  day.  He  had  unconsciously 
risen  to  a  height  above  the  level  of  even  the  "  cultured 
thought "  of  that  period.6 

The  marvellous  perfection,  the  intrinsic  excellence  of 
the  Gettysburg  speech  as  a  masterpiece  of  English  com- 
position, seem  to  have  escaped  the  scrutiny  of  even  the 
most  scholarly  critics  of  that  day,  on  this  side  of  the 
Atlantic.  That  discovery  was  made,  it  must  be  regret- 
fully owned,  by  distinguished  writers  on  the  other  side. 
The  London  "Spectator,"  the  "Saturday  Review,"  the 
"  Edinburgh  Review,"  and  some  other  European  jour- 
nals were  the  first  to  discover,  or  at  least  to  proclaim, 
the  classical  merits  of  the  Gettysburg  speech.  It  was 
then  that  we  began  to  realize  that  it  was  indeed  a  mas- 
terpiece ;  and  it  dawned  upon  many  minds  that  we  had 
entertained  an  angel  unawares,  who  had  left  us  unappre- 
ciated. In  no  country  and  in  no  age  of  the  world  has 
the  death  of  any  man  caused  an  outpouring  of  sorrow  so 
universal.  Every  nation  of  the  earth  felt  and  expressed 
its  sense  of  the  loss  to  progressive  civilization  and  popu- 
lar government.  In  his  life  and  death,  thoughtful  men 


in  all  lands  found  an  inspiring  theme.  England's  great- 
est thinker,  John  Stuart  Mill,  pronounced  Abraham  Lin- 
coln to  be  "the  greatest  citizen,  who  has  afforded  a 
noble  example  of  the  qualities  befitting  the  first  magis- 
trate of  a  free  people."  The  London  "Times"  declared 
that  the  news  of  his  death  would  be  received  throughout 
Europe  "with  sorrow  as  sincere  and  profound  as  it 
awoke  in  the  United  States,"  and  that  "  Englishmen  had 
learned  to  respect  a  man  who  showed  the  best  charac- 
teristics of  their  race."  The  London  "Spectator"  spoke 
of  him  as  "certainly  the  best,  if  not  the  ablest  man 
ruling  over  any  country  in  the  civilized  world." 

For  using  in  his  Gettysburg  speech  the  celebrated 
phrase,  "  the  government  of  the  people,  by  the  people, 
and  for  the  people,"  Mr.  Lincoln  has  been  subjected  to 
the  most  brutal  criticism  as  well  as  to  the  most  ground- 
less flattery.  Some  have  been  base  enough  to  insinuate 
against  that  great  and  sincere  man  that  he  was  guilty 
of  the  crime  of  wilful  plagiarism ;  others  have  ascribed 
to  him  the  honor  of  originating  the  phrase  entire.  There 
is  injustice  to  him  in  either  view  of  the  case.  I  per- 
sonally know  that  Mr.  Lincoln  made  no  pretence  of  origi- 
nality in  the  matter ;  nor  was  he,  on  the  other  hand, 
conscious  of  having  appropriated  the  thought,  or  even 
the  exact  words,  of  any  other  man.  If  he  is  subject  to 
the  charge  of  plagiarism,  so  is  the  great  Webster,  who 
used  substantially  the  same  phrase  in  his  celebrated 
reply  to  Hayne.  Both  men  may  have  acquired  the 
peculiar  form  of  expression  (the  thought  itself  being  as 



old  as  the  republican  idea  of  government)  by  the  process 
known  as  unconscious  appropriation.  Certain  it  is  that 
neither  Lincoln  nor  Webster  originated  the  phrase.  Let 
us  see  how  the  case  stands. 

In  an  address  before  the  New  England  Antislavery 
Convention  in  Boston,  May  29,  1850,  Theodore  Parker 
defined  Democracy  as  "  a  government  of  all  the  people, 
by  all  the  people,  for  all  the  people,  of  course,"  which 
language  is  identical  with  that  employed  by  Mr.  Lincoln 
in  his  Gettysburg  speech.  Substantially  the  same  phrase 
was  used  by  Judge  Joel  Parker  in  the  Massachusetts 
Constitutional  Convention  in  1853.  A  distinguished 
diplomat  has  acquainted  me  with  the  singular  fact  that 
almost  the  identical  phrase  employed  by  Mr.  Lincoln 
was  used  in  another  language  by  a  person  whose  existence 
even  was  not  probably  known  to  Mr.  Webster,  the 
Parkers,  or  to  Mr.  Lincoln.  On  the  thirty-first  page  of  a 
work  entitled  "  Geschichte  der  Schweizerischen  Re- 
generation von  1830  bis  1848,  von  P.  Feddersen," 
appears  an  account  of  a  public  meeting  held  at  Olten, 
Switzerland,  in  May,  1830.  On  that  occasion  a  speaker 
named  Schinz  used  the  following  language,  as  translated 
by  my  friend  just  referred  to :  "  All  the  governments  of 
Switzerland  [referring  to  the  cantons]  must  acknowledge 
that  they  are  simply  from  all  the  people,  by  all  the  people* 
and  for  all  the  people" 

These  extracts  are  enough  to  show  that  no  American 
statesman  or  writer  can  lay  claim  to  the  origin  or  author- 
ship of  the  phrase  in  question.  No  friend  of  Mr.  Lin- 


coin  will  pretend  that  it  is  the  coinage  of  his  fertile 
brain;  nor  will  any  fair-minded  man  censure  him  for 
using  it  as  he  did  in  his  Gettysburg  speech.  As  a 
phrase  of  singular  compactness  and  force,  it  was  em- 
ployed by  him,  legitimately  and  properly,  as  a  fitting 
conclusion  to  an  address  which  the  judgment  of  both 
hemispheres  has  declared  will  live  as  a  model  of  classic 
oratory  while  free  government  shall  continue  to  be 
known  and  revered  among  men. 

"  The  world  will  little  note, 
nor  long  remember,  what  we 
say  here  ;   but  it  can  never 
forget  what  they  did  here." 

"  The  speech  will  live  when 
the  memory  of  the  battle  will 
be  lost  or  only  remembered 
because  of  the  speech." 




DURING  the  long  series  of  defeats  and  disasters 
which  culminated  in  the  battles  of  Fredericksburg 
and  of  Chancellorsville,  there  arose  in  certain  circles  of 
the  army  and  of  the  National  Legislature  a  feeling  of 
distrust  and  dissatisfaction,  that  reached  its  climax  in  an 
intrigue  to  displace  Mr.  Lincoln,  if  not  from  his  position 
at  least  from  the  exercise  of  his  prerogatives,  by  the 
appointment  of  a  dictator.  Such  a  measure  would  have 
been  scarcely  less  revolutionary  than  many  others  which 
were  openly  avowed  and  advocated. 

In  this  cabal  were  naturally  included  all  those  self-con- 
stituted advisers  whose  counsels  had  not  been  adopted 
in  the  conduct  of  the  war;  all  those  malcontents  and 
grumblers  who,  conscious  of  their  incapacity  to  become 
makers  of  pots  and  pitchers,  are  always  so  eager  to 
exhibit  their  skill  and  ingenuity  as  menders  of  them.  In 
this  coalition  of  non-combatant  guardian  angels  of  the 
country  and  civilian  warriors  were  to  be  found  patriots 
of  every  shade  and  of  every  degree. 

First,  the  political  patriot,  who  recognized  in  a  bril- 
liant succession  of  Federal  victories  the  only  probable 
prospect  of  preserving  the  ascendency  of  his  party  and 
promoting  his  own  personal  fortunes. 


Second,  the  commercial  patriot,  whose  dominant  pas- 
sion was  a  love  of — self;  to  whom  the  spoliation  of  the 
South  and  the  swindling  of  his  own  government  afforded 
the  most  fruitful  expedient  for  feathering  his  nest. 

Third,  the  religious  patriot,  whose  love  of  country  was 
subordinate  to  his  hatred  of  slavery  and  of  slaveholders ; 
who*  having  recanted  his  dictum  that  the  Constitution  of 
the  United  States  was  a  "covenant  with  death  and  an 
agreement  with  hell,"  was  now  one  of  the  most  vindic- 
tive and  unscrupulous  advocates  of  a  war  of  extermination. 
As  is  frequently  the  case  where  one  class  of  persons  is 
severely  exercised  over  the  iniquities  of  another,  to  a 
sentiment  of  philanthropy  had  succeeded  the  most  vio- 
lent animosity  and  intolerance,  until  sympathy  for  the 
slave  degenerated  into  the  most  envenomed  hostility 
toward  his  owner. 

Among  the  most  aggressive  assailants  of  the  President 
were  thus  comprised  all  those  elements  in  his  party, 
with  whom  the  logic  of  the  war  might  be  summed  up  in 
the  comprehensive  formula,  "  Power,  plunder,  and  ex- 
tended rule."  The  evolution  of  events  and  his  consis- 
tent policy,  as  foreshadowed  and  indicated  on  the  close 
of  hostilities,  have  clearly  demonstrated  that  with  such 
minds  Mr.  Lincoln  could  have  little  sympathy  or  fellow- 
ship. Conscientiously  observant  of  his  solemn  oath  to 
maintain  the  Constitution,  he  could  not  be  persuaded  to 
evade  the  obligations  of  his  high  trust  by  lending  his 
authority  to  the  accomplishment  of  their  revolutionary 
and  nefarious  designs.  Hinc  illce  lachrymce ;  hence,  dis- 


appointed  at  the  failure  of  their  endeavor  to  shape  his 
policy  in  obedience  to  the  suggestions  of  their  own 
ignoble  designs,  their  open  revolt. 

No  member  of  the  cabal  was  better  advised  of  its 
progress  or  of  the  parties  concerned  in  it  than  Mr.  Lin- 
coln himself.  He  often  talked  with  me  on  the  subject. 
He  did  not  fear  it ;  he  feared  nothing  except  to  commit 
an  involuntary  wrong  or  mistake  of  judgment  in  the 
administration  of  his  high  and  responsible  trust.  He 
would  willingly  have  resigned  office  and  retired  to  the 
unobtrusive  life  and  simple  duties  of  a  private  citizen,  if 
by  so  doing  he  could  have  restored  the  integrity  of  the 
Union,  or  in  anywise  have  promoted  the  success  of  the 
Union  cause.  In  this  connection  he  would  often  say  to 
me  :  "  In  God's  name  !  if  any  one  can  do  better  in  my 
place  than  I  have  done,  or  am  endeavoring  to  do,  let 
him  try  his  hand  at  it,  and  no  one  will  be  better  con- 
tented than  myself." 

One  time  I  went  to  Mr.  Lincoln's  office  at  the  White 
House  and  found  the  door  locked.  I  went  through  a  pri- 
vate room  and  through  a  side  entrance  into  the  office, 
where  I  found  the  President  lying  on  a  sofa,  evidently 
greatly  disturbed  and  much  excited,  manifestly  displeased 
with  the  outlook.  Jumping  up  from  his  reclining  position 
he  advanced,  saying :  "  You  know  better  than  any  man 
living  that  from  my  boyhood  up  my  ambition  was  to  be 
President.  I  am  President  of  one  part  of  this  divided 
country  at  least ;  but  look  at  me  !  I  wish  I  had  never 
been  born  !  It  is  a  white  elephant  on  my  hands,  and  hard 


to  manage.  With  a  fire  in  my  front  and  rear ;  having  to 
contend  with  the  jealousies  of  the  military  commanders, 
and  not  receiving  that  cordial  co-operation  and  support 
from  Congress  which  could  reasonably  be  expected ;  with 
an  active  and  formidable  enemy  in  the  field  threatening 
the  very  life-blood  of  the  government,  —  my  position  is 
anything  but  a  bed  of  roses." 

I  remarked  to  him :  "  It  strikes  me  that  you  are 
somewhat  in  the  position  of  the  great  Richelieu,  of  whom 
it  was  said  that  he  was  the  first  man  in  Europe  but  the 
second  only  in  his  own  country." 

"  Oh,  no  !  very  far  from  it,"  he  replied.  "  Richelieu 
never  had  a  fire  in  his  front  and  rear  at  the  same  time, 
but  a  united  constituency,  which  it  has  never  been  my 
good  fortune  to  have."  Then  brightening  up,  his  whole 
nature  seemed  all  at  once  to  change.  I  could  see  a 
merry  twinkle  in  his  eye  as  he  said  :  "  If  I  can  only  keep 
my  end  of  the  animal  pointed  in  the  right  direction,  I 
will  yet  get  him  through  this  infernal  jungle  and  get  my 
end  of  him  and  his  tail  placed  in  their  proper  relative  posi- 
tions. I  have  never  faltered  in  my  faith  of  being  ulti- 
mately able  to  suppress  this  rebellion  and  of  reuniting 
this  divided  country ;  but  this  improvised  vigilant  com- 
mittee to  watch  my  movements  and  keep  me  straight, 
appointed  by  Congress  and  called  the  'committee  on 
the  conduct  of  the  war,'  is  a  marplot,  and  its  greatest 
purpose  seems  to  be  to  hamper  my  action  and  obstruct 
the  military  operations." 

Earnestly   desirous  of  conciliating  and  harmonizing 


every  element,  with  a  view  to  the  accomplishment 
of  the  one  —  the  dearest  —  aspiration  of  his  heart,  a 
restoration  of  the  Union,  Mr.  Lincoln  had  yielded  until 
further  concessions  would  have  implied  ductility  or 
imbecility,  until  every  sentiment  of  dignity  and  of  self- 
respect  would  have  uttered  an  indignant  protest.  He 
then  well  knew  that  he  must  assert  himself,  or  be  an 
unimportant  factor  in  the  body-politic  in  the  struggle  for 
the  life  and  preservation  of  the  nation;  and  rising  at 
length  to  the  full  height  of  his  matchless  self-reliance 
and  independence,  he  exclaimed  :  "  This  state  of  things 
shall  continue  no  longer.  I  will  show  them  at  the  other 
end  of  the  Avenue  whether  I  am  President  or  not !  " 

From  this  moment  he  never  again  hesitated  or 
wavered  as  to  his  course.  From  this  moment  he  was 
recognized  as  the  Executive  Chief  and  Constitutional 
Commander  of  the  Armies  and  Navy  of  the  United 
States.  His  opponents  and  would-be  masters  were  now, 
for  the  most  part,  silenced ;  but  they  hated  him  all  the 
more  cordially. 

A  short  time  before  the  fall  of  Vicksburg,  great  dis- 
satisfaction became  rife  at  General  Grant's  tardiness  in 
moving  on  the  enemy's  works.  There  was  a  pretty 
general  feeling  in  favor  of  relieving  Grant  from  his  com- 
mand, and  appointing  some  one  who  would  make  short 
work  of  that  formidable  stronghold  of  the  enemy  and 
relieve  the  people  from  their  state  of  anxiety.  Mr. 
Lincoln  had  great  faith  in  General  Grant.  He  was 
being  constantly  importuned  and  beset  by  the  leading 


politicians  to  turn  Grant  out  of  the  command.  One  day 
about  this  time  he  said  to  me,  "I  fear  I  have  made 
Senator  Wade,  of  Ohio,  my  enemy  for  life."  "  How?" 
I  asked.  "  Wade  was  here  just  now  urging  me  to  dis- 
miss Grant,  and  in  response  to  something  he  said  I 
remarked,  '  Senator,  that  reminds  me  of  a  story.'  '  Yes, 
yes ! '  Wade  petulantly  replied,  « it  is  with  you,  sir,  all 
story,  story  !  You  are  the  father  of  every  military  blunder 
that  has  been  made  during  the  war.  You  are  on  your 
road  to  hell,  sir,  with  this  government,  by  your  obstinacy ; 
and  you  are  not  a  mile  off  this  minute.'  I  good-naturedly 
said  to  him :  '  Senator,  that  is  just  about  the  distance 
from  here  to  the  Capitol,  is  it  not?'  He  was  very 
angry,  and  grabbed  up  his  hat  and  cane  and  went 

Lincoln  then  continued  to  say:  "To  show  to  what 
extent  this  sentiment  prevails,  even  Washburne,  who  has 
always  claimed  Grant  as  his  by  right  of  discovery,  has 
deserted  him,  and  demands  his  removal;  and  I  really 
believe  I  am  the  only  friend  Grant  has  left.  Grant 
advises  me  [Mr.  Lincoln  had  never  seen  General  Grant 
up  to  that  time]  that  he  will  take  Vicksburg  by  the 
Fourth  of  July,  and  I  believe  he  will  do  it ;  and  he  shall 
have  the  chance." 

Had  it  not  been  for  the  stoic  firmness  of  Mr.  Lincoln 
in  standing  by  Grant,  which  resulted  in  the  speedy 
capture  of  Vicksburg,  it  is  hard  to  predict  what  would 
have  been  the  consequences.  If  nothing  worse,  certain 
it  is  that  President  Lincoln  would  have  been  deposed, 


and  a  dictator  would  have  been  placed  in  his  stead  as 
chief  executive  until  peace  could  be  restored  to  the 
nation  by  separation  or  otherwise.  Mr.  Lincoln  thus 
expressed  himself  shortly  before  his  death :  "  If  I  had 
done  as  my  Washington  friends,  who  fight  battles  with 
their  tongues  at  a  safe  distance  from  the  enemy,  would 
have  had  me  do,  Grant,  who  proved  himself  so  great  a 
captain,  would  never  have  been  heard  of  again." 

That  Mr.  Lincoln  sought  to  interfere  as  little  as 
possible  with  the  military  affairs  after  General  Grant  took 
charge  of  the  army  will  be  shown  by  the  following 
letter :  — 

WASHINGTON,  April  30,  1864. 

LIEUTENANT-GENERAL  GRANT,  —  Not  expecting  to  see 
you  before  the  spring  campaign  opens,  I  wish  to  express  in 
this  way  my  entire  satisfaction  with  what  you  have  done  up 
to  this  time,  so  far  as  I  understand  it.  The  particulars 
of  your  plan  I  neither  know  nor  seek  to  know.  You  are 
vigilant  and  self-reliant,  and  [I  put  no]  restraints  or  con- 
straints upon  you.  While  I  am  very  anxious  that  any  great 
disaster  or  capture  of  any  of  our  men  in  great  numbers  shall 
be  avoided,  I  know  that  these  points  are  less  likely  to 
escape  your  attention  than  they  would  be  mine.  If  there 
be  anything  wanting  which  is  within  my  power  to  give,  do 
not  fail  to  let  me  know  it  And  now  with  a  brave  army  and 
a  just  cause,  may  God  sustain  you  ! 

Yours  very  truly, 
(Signed)  A.  LINCOLN. 

I  am  not  aware  that  there  was  ever  a  serious  discord 
or  misunderstanding  between  Mr.  Lincoln  and  General 


Grant  except  on  a  single  occasion.  From  the  com- 
mencement of  the  struggle,  Lincoln's  policy  was  to  break 
the  back-bone  of  the  Confederacy  by  depriving  it  of 
its  principal  means  of  subsistence.  Cotton  was  its 
vital  aliment ;  deprive  it  of  this,  and  the  rebellion  must 
necessarily  collapse.  The  Hon.  Elihu  B.  Washburne 
from  the  outset  was  opposed  to  any  contraband  traffic 
with  the  Confederates.  Lincoln  had  given  permits  and 
passes  through  the  lines  to  two  persons,  —  Mr.  Joseph 
Mattox,  of  Maryland,  and  General  Singleton,  of  Illinois, 
—  to  enable  them  to  bring  cotton  and  other  Southern 
products  from  Virginia.  Washburne  heard  of  it,  called 
immediately  on  Mr.  Lincoln,  and  after  remonstrating 
with  him  on  the  impropriety  of  such  a  demarche,  threat- 
ened to  have  General  Grant  countermand  the  permits 
if  they  were  not  revoked.  Naturally,  both  became 
excited.  Lincoln  declared  that  he  did  not  believe 
General  Grant  would  take  upon  himself  the  responsibility 
of  such  an  act.  "  I  will  show  you,  sir,  I  will  show  you 
whether  Grant  will  do  it  or  not,"  responded  Mr.  Wash- 
burne as  he  abruptly  withdrew. 

By  the  next  boat,  subsequent  to  this  interview,  the 
Congressman  left  Washington  for  the  headquarters  of 
General  Grant.  He  returned  shortly  afterward  to  the 
city,  and  so  likewise  did  Mattox  and  Singleton.  Grant 
had  countermanded  the  permits. 

The  following  important  order  relative  to  trade- 
permits  was  issued  by  Lieutenant- General  Grant  about 
this  time :  — 


CITY  POINT,  VA.,  March  10,  1865. 

Special  Orders,  No.  48. 

i .  The  operations  on  all  Treasury  trade-permits,  and  all 
other  trade-permits  and  licenses  to  trade,  by  whomsoever 
granted,  within  the  State  of  Virginia,  except  that  portion 
known  as  the  Eastern  Shore,  and  the  States  of  North 
Carolina  and  South  Carolina,  and  that  portion  of  the 
State  of  Georgia  immediately  bordering  on  the  Atlantic, 
including  the  City  of  Savannah,  are  hereby  suspended  until 
further  orders.  All  contracts  and  agreements  made  under  or 
by  virtue  of  any  trade-permit  or  license  within  any  of  said 
States  or  parts  of  States,  during  the  existence  of  this  order, 
will  be  deemed  void,  and  the  subject  of  such  contracts  or 
agreements  will  be  seized  by  the  military  authorities  for  the 
benefit  of  the  government,  whether  the  same  is  at  the  time 
of  such  contracts  or  agreements  within  their  reach  or  at  any 
time  thereafter  comes  within  their  reach,  either  by  the  opera- 
tions of  war  or  the  acts  of  the  contracting  parties  or  their 
agents.  The  delivery  of  all  goods  contracted  for  and  not 
delivered  before  the  publication  of  this  order  is  prohibited. 

Supplies  of  all  kinds  are  prohibited  from  passing  into  any 
of  said  States  or  parts  of  States,  except  such  as  are  absolutely 
necessary  for  the  wants  of  those  living  within  the  lines  of 
actual  military  occupation,  and  under  no  circumstances  will 
military  commanders  allow  them  to  pass  beyond  the  lines 
they  actually  hold. 

By  command  of  Lieutenant-General  Grant. 

T.  S.  BOWERS, 
Assistant  Adjutant-General. 

Under  all  the  circumstances  it  was  a  source  of  exulta- 
tion to  Mr.  Washburne  and  his  friends,  and  of  corres- 
ponding surprise  and  mortification  to  the  President. 


But  he  suppressed  the  resentment  to  which  General 
Grant's  conduct  might  naturally  have  given  rise,  and, 
with  the  equanimity  and  self-control  that  was  habitual 
with  him,  merely  remarked :  "  I  wonder  when  General 
Grant  changed  his  mind  on  this  subject.  He  was  the 
first  man,  after  the  commencement  of  the  war,  to  grant 
a  permit  for  the  passage  of  cotton  through  the  lines, 
and  that  to  his  own  father."  In  referring  afterwards  to 
the  subject,  he  said  :  "  It  made  me  feel  my  insignificance 
keenly  at  the  moment;  but  if  my  friends  Washburne, 
Henry  Wilson,  and  others  derive  pleasure  from  so 
unworthy  a  victory  over  me,  I  leave  them  to  its  full 
enjoyment."1  This  ripple  on  the  otherwise  unruffled 
current  of  their  intercourse  did  not  disturb  the  per- 
sonal relations  between  Lincoln  and  Grant;  but  there 
was  little  cordiality  between  the  President  and  Messrs. 
Washburne  and  Wilson  afterwards. 

Mr.  Lincoln,  when  asked  if  he  had  seen  the  Wade- 
Davis  manifesto,  the  Phillips  speech* etc., replied  :  "  No, 

*  In  a  speech  at  Cooper  Institute  in  New  York  City,  on  the 
Presidential  election  (1864),  Wendell  Phillips  said  that  for  thirty 
years  he  had  labored  to  break  up  the  Union  in  the  interest  of  jus- 
tice, and  now  he  labored  to  save  it  in  the  same  interest.  The  same 
curse  that  he  invoked  on  the  old  Union  he  would  invoke  on  a  new 
Union  if  it  is  not  founded  on  justice  to  the  negro.  "  Science 
must  either  demonstrate  that  the  negro  is  not  a  man,  or  politics 
must  accord  to  him  equality  at  the  ballot-box  and  in  offices  of 
trust."  He  judged  Mr.  Lincoln  by  his  words  and  deeds,  and  so 
judging  he  was  "  unwilling  to  trust  Abraham  Lincoln  with  the 
future  of  the  country.  Let  it  be  granted  that  Mr.  Lincoln  is 
pledged  to  Liberty  and  Union  ;  but  this  pledge  was  wrung  out  of 
him  by  the  Cleveland  movement,  and  was  a  mere  electioneering 
pledge.  Mr.  Lincoln  is  a  politician.  Politicians  are  like  the 


I  have  not  seen  them,  nor  do  I  care  to  see  them.  I 
have  seen  enough  to  satisfy  me  that  I  am  a  failure,  not 
only  in  the  opinion  of  the  people  in  rebellion,  but  of 
many  distinguished  politicians  of  my  own  party.  But 
time  will  show  whether  I  am  right  or  they  are  right,  and 
I  am  content  to  abide  its  decision.  I  have  enough 
to  look  after  without  giving  much  of  my  time  to  the 

bones  of  a  horse's  fore-shoulder, —  not  a  straight  one  in  it.  A 
reformer  is  like  a  Doric  column  of  iron,  —  straight,  strong,  and 
immovable.  It  is  a  momentous  responsibility  to  trust  Mr.  Lincoln 
where  we  want  a  Doric  column  to  stand  stern  and  strong  for  the 
Nation.  ...  I  am  an  Abolitionist,  but  I  am  also  a  citizen  watch- 
ful of  constitutional  Liberty ;  and  I  say  if  President  Lincoln  is 
inaugurated  on  the  votes  of  Tennessee,  Louisiana,  and  Arkansas, 
every  citizen  is  bound  to  resist  him.  Are  you  willing  to  sacrifice 
the  constitutional  rights  of  seventy  years  for  your  fondness  for  an 
individual  ? " 

Mr.  Phillips  then  quoted  some  opinions  from  prominent  men  in 
the  Republican  party.  "  A  man  in  the  field  said,  '  The  re-election 
of  Abraham  Lincoln  will  be  a  disaster.'  Another  said,  'The 
re-election  of  Abraham  Lincoln  will  be  national  destruction.' 
Said  another,  'There  is  no  government  at  Washington,  —  noth- 
ing there.'  Winter  Davis  of  Maryland  testifies  to  his  [Lincoln's] 
inability.  Said  another,  '  That  proclamation  will  not  stand  a 
week  before  the  Supreme  Court ;  but  I  had  rather  trust  it  there 
than  Abraham  Lincoln  to  make  the  judges.'  Mr.  Lincoln  has 
secured  his  success  just  as  the  South  used  to  secure  its  suc- 
cess. He  says  to  the  radicals  of  the  Republican  party,  '  I  am 
going  to  nominate  myself  at  Baltimore  :  risk  a  division  of  the 
party  if  you  dare! 'and  the  radicals  submitted.  Political  Massa- 
chusetts submitted,  and  is  silent ;  but  Antislavery  Massachusetts 
calls  to  the  people  to  save  their  own  cause."  Mr.  Phillips  said 
he  "wanted  by  free  speech  to  let  Abraham  Lincoln  know  that  we 
are  stronger  than  Abraham  Lincoln,  and  that  he  is  a  servant  to 
obey  us.  I  distrust  the  man  who  uses  whole  despotism  in  Massa- 
chusetts and  half  despotism  in  South  Carolina,  and  that  man  is 
Abraham  Lincoln." 


consideration  of  the  subject  of  who  shall  be  my  successor 
in  office.  The  position  is  not  an  easy  one ;  and  the 
occupant,  whoever  he  may  be,  for  the  next  four  years, 
will  have  little  leisure  to  pluck  a  thorn  or  plant  a  rose 
in  his  own  pathway."  It  was  urged  that  this  opposition 
must  be  embarrassing  to  his  Administration,  as  well 
as  damaging  to  the  party.  He  replied  :  "  Yes,  that  is 
true ;  but  our  friends  Wade,  Davis,  Phillips,  and  others 
are  hard  to  please.  I  am  not  capable  of  doing  so.  I 
cannot  please  them  without  wantonly  violating  not  only 
my  oath,  but  the  most  vital  principles  upon  which  our 
government  was  founded.  As  to  those  who,  like  Wade 
and  the  rest,  see  fit  to  depreciate  my  policy  and  cavil 
at  my  official  acts,  I  shall  not  complain  of  them.  I 
accord  them  the  utmost  freedom  of  speech  and  liberty 
of  the  press,  but  shall  not  change  the  policy  I  have 
adopted  in  the  full  belief  that  I  am  right.  I  feel  on 
this  subject  as  an  old  Illinois  farmer  once  expressed 
himself  while  eating  cheese.  He  was  interrupted  in  the 
midst  of  his  repast  by  the  entrance  of  his  son,  who 
exclaimed,  '  Hold  on,  dad  !  there 's  skippers  in  that 
cheese  you  're  eating  ! '  '  Never  mind,  Tom,'  said  he, 
as  he  kept  on  munching  his  cheese,  '  if  they  can  stand  it 
I  can.'  " 

On  another  occasion •  Mr.  Lincoln  said  to  me:  "If 
the  unworthy  ambition  of  politicians  and  the  jealousy 
that  exists  in  the  army  could  be  repressed,  and  all 
unite  in  a  common  aim  and  a  common  endeavor,  the 
rebellion  would  soon  be  crushed."  He  conversed  with 


me  freely  and  repeatedly  on  the  subject  of  the  unfairness 
and  intemperance  of  his  opponents  in  Congress,  of  the 
project  of  a  dictatorship,  etc.  The  reverses  at  Fred- 
ericksburg  and  Chancellorsville  Mr.  Lincoln  fully  com- 
prehended ;  and  he  believed  them  to  have  been  caused  by 
the  absence  of  a  proper  support  of  Burnside  and  Hooker, 
prompted  by  the  jealousies  of  other  superior  officers. 

The  appointment  of  a  general  to  the  supreme  com- 
mand of  the  Army  of  the  Potomac,  made  vacant  by  the 
resignation  of  General  Burnside,  became  a  question  of 
urgent  import.  General  Rosecrans  was  the  choice  of 
the  Secretary  of  War.  The  President  regarded  it  as 
inexpedient  to  make  the  appointment  outside  the  gen- 
eral officers  serving  in  the  Army  of  the  Potomac.  Hav- 
ing little  preference  in  the  selection  of  a  successor 
to  General  Burnside,  Mr.  Lincoln,  after  advisement, 
adopted  the  views  of  the  military  department  of  the 
government,  and  offered  the  chief  command  to  General 
Reynolds.  The  latter,  however,  declined  to  accept  the 
trust,  unless  a  wider  latitude  of  action  were  granted  him 
than  had  hitherto  been  accorded  to  officers  occupying 
this  high  post. 

The  reverses  in  the  field  already  referred  to  having 
occurred  since  General  McClellan  was  relieved  from 
the  chief  command  of  the  Union  forces,  there  now  arose 
among  his  old  companions-in-arms,  and  in  the  army 
generally,  a  clamor  for  his  reinstatement  as  Commander 
of  the  Army  of  the  Potomac.  The  propriety  of  such 
action  was  made  the  subject  of  a  Cabinet  consultation, 


which   resulted   in   the   rejection  of   an   expedient   so 
manifestly  looking  towards  a  dictatorship. 

A  strong  influence  was  now  exerted  by  the  immediate 
friends  of  General  Hooker  in  behalf  of  his  appointment 
as  Commander-in-Chief,  —  some  of  them  being  prompted 
by  personal  ambition,  others  by  even  less  worthy 
motives.  These  partisans  of  a  worthy  and  deserving 
officer,  whose  aspirations  were  known  to  be  entirely 
within  the  sphere  of  military  preferment,  united  their 
forces  with  a  powerful  political  coterie,  having  for  their 
chief  object  the  elevation  of  Mr.  Chase  to  the  Presidency 
upon  the  expiration  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  first  term.  It  was 
believed  by  this  faction  that  Hooker,  in  the  event  of 
his  bringing  the  war  to  a  successful  conclusion,  being 
himself  unambitious  of  office,  might  not  be  unwilling  to 
lend  his  prestige  and  influence  to  a  movement  in  favor 
of  that  distinguished  statesman  as  the  successor  of  Mr. 
Lincoln  in  the  Presidency.  Up  to  the  present  time  the 
war  had  been  conducted  rather  at  the  dictation  of  a 
political  bureaucracy  than  in  accordance  purely  with 
considerations  of  military  strategy.  Hooker  was  ap- 
pointed by  the  President  under  a  full  knowledge  of  his 
political  affinities. 

In  conversation  with  Mr.  Lincoln  one  night  about  the 
time  General  Burnside  was  relieved,  I  was  urging  upon 
him  the  necessity  of  looking  well  to  the  fact  that  there 
was  a  scheme  on  foot  to  depose  him,  and  to  appoint  a 
military  dictator  in  his  stead.  He  laughed,  and  said : 
"I  think,  for  a  man  of  accredited  courage,  you  are  the 


most  panicky  person  I  ever  knew;  you  can  see  more 
dangers  to  me  than  all  the  other  friends  I  have.  You 
are  all  the  time  exercised  about  somebody  taking  my 
life,  —  murdering  me ;  and  now  you  have  discovered  a 
new  danger :  now  you  think  the  people  of  this  great 
government  are  likely  to  turn  me  out  of  office.  I  do 
not  fear  this  from  the  people  any  more  than  I  fear 
assassination  from  an  individual.  Now,  to  show  you 
my  appreciation  of  what  my  French  friends  would  call 
a  coup  d'tiat,  let  me  read  you  a  letter  I  have  written  to 
General  Hooker,  whom  I  have  just  appointed  to  the 
command  of  the  Army  of  the  Potomac."  He  then 
opened  the  drawer  of  his  table  and  took  out  and  read 
the  letter  to  General  Hooker,  which  accompanied  his 
commission  as  Commander  of  the  Army  of  the  Potomac, 
of  which  letter  the  following  is  a  copy  :  — 


WASHINGTON,  D.  C.,  Jan.  26,  1863. 
Major-General  Hooker  : 

GENERAL,  —  I  have  placed  you  at  the  head  of  the  Army 
of  the  Potomac.  Of  course  I  have  done  this  upon  what 
appears  to  me  sufficient  reasons ;  and  yet  I  think  it  best  for 
you  to  know  that  there  are  some  things  in  regard  to  which 
I  am  not  quite  satisfied  with  you. 

I  believe  you  to  be  a  brave  and  skilful  soldier,  which  of 
course  I  like.  I  also  believe  you  do  not  mix  politics  with 
your  profession,  in  which  you  are  right.  You  have  con- 
fidence in  yourself,  which  is  a  valuable,  if  not  indispens- 
able, quality.  You  are  ambitious,  which,  within  reasonable 
bounds,  does  good  rather  than  harm.  But  I  think  that 


during  General  Burnside's  command  of  the  army  you  have 
taken  counsel  of  your  ambition  solely,  and  thwarted  him  as 
much  as  you  could ;  in  which  you  did  a  great  wrong  to  the 
country  and  to  a  most  meritorious  and  honorable  brother 
officer.  I  have  heard,  in  such  a  way  as  to  believe  it,  of  your 
saying  that  both  the  country  and  the  army  needed  a  dictator. 
Of  course  it  was  not  for  this,  but  in  spite  of  it,  that  I  have 
given  you  the  command.  Only  those  generals  who  gain  suc- 
cess can  set  themselves  up  as  dictators.  What  I  ask  of  you 
is  military  success,  and  I  will  risk  the  dictatorship.  The 
government  will  support  you  to  the  utmost  of  its  ability, 
which  is  neither  more  nor  less  than  it  has  done  and  will  do 
for  all  its  commanders. 

I  much  fear  that  the  spirit  which  you  have  aided  to  infuse 
into  the  army,  of  criticising  their  commander  and  withholding 
confidence  from  him,  will  now  turn  upon  you ;  and  I  shall 
assist  you  as  far  as  I  can  to  put  it  down.  Neither  you  nor 
Napoleon,  if  he  were  alive  again,  could  get  any  good  out  of 
an  army  while  such  a  spirit  prevails  in  it. 

And   now,   beware   of    rashness,   but  with    energy   and 
sleepless  vigilance  go  forward  and  give  us  victories. 
Yours  very  truly, 


Some  little  time  afterwards,  in  referring  with  much 
feeling  to  this  letter,  General  Hooker  declared :  "  It 
was  just  such  a  letter  as  a  father  might  have  addressed 
to  his  son.  It  was  a  great  rebuke,  however,  to  me  at 
the  time." 

The  question  of  a  dictatorship  had  been  everywhere 
ventilated.  The  President  had  heard  a  great  deal  about 
it ;  but  he  treated  the  whole  subject  as  a  pure  vagary, 
not  apprehending  any  serious  danger  from  it.  At  first 


it  may  have  given  him  some  annoyance ;  but  it  soon 
ceased  to  disturb  him,  and  ultimately  it  became  the 
source  of  no  little  mirth  and  amusement  to  him.  I  was 
present  upon  one  occasion  when  a  party  of  the  intimate 
friends  of  Mr.  Lincoln  were  assembled  at  the  White 
House,  and  the  project  of  a  dictatorship  was  the  topic 
of  conversation.  The  President  gave  full  play  to  the 
exuberance  of  his  humor  and  his  sense  of  the  ridiculous, 
entirely  banishing  the  anxieties  and  apprehensions  of 
such  of  his  friends  as  were  inclined  to  regard  the  ques- 
tion from  a  more  serious  point  of  view.  "  I  will  tell 
you,"  said  he,  "a  story  which  I  think  illustrates  the 

"Some  years  ago  a  couple  of  emigrants  from  the 
Emerald  Isle  were  wending  their  way  westward  in  search 
of  employment  as  a  means  of  subsistence.  The  shades 
of  night  had  already  closed  in  upon  them  as  they  found 
themselves  in  the  vicinity  of  a  large  sheet  of  standing 
water,  more  vulgarly  called  a  big  pond.  They  were 
greeted  upon  their  approach  by  a  symphony  of  bull- 
frogs, which  was  the  only  manifestation  of  life  in  the 
darkness  that  surrounded  them,  literally  '  making  night 
hideous'  with  noise.  This  sort  of  harmony  was  alto- 
gether new  to  them,  and  for  a  moment  they  were  greatly 
terrified  at  the  diabolic  din.  Instinctively  and  resolutely 
grasping  their  shillalahs,  under  the  impression  that  Beel- 
zebub or  some  of  his  deputies  was  about  to  dispute 
their  farther  progress,  they  cautiously  advanced  toward  the 
spot  from  whence  the  strange  concert  proceeded.  The 


frogs,  however,  alarmed  at  their  approaching  footsteps, 
had  beat  a  precipitate  retreat,  and  taken  refuge  in  their 
watery  hiding-places,  and  all  was  as  silent  as  the  grave. 
After  waiting  for  some  seconds  in  breathless  suspense  for 
the  appearance  of  the  enemy,  not  a  sound  being  audible, 
in  great  disappointment  and  disgust  at  the  loss  of  so 
favorable  an  opportunity  for  a  free  fight,  one  of  our 
heroes,  seizing  his  companion  by  the  coat-sleeve,  whis- 
pered confidentially  in  his  ear  :  '  Faith,  Pat,  and  it 's  my 
deliberate  opinion  that  it  was  nothing  but  a  blasted 
noise  ! ' " 

Pursuing  the  topic  in  the  same  humorous  vein,  Mr. 
Lincoln  again  convulsed  his  auditors  by  relating  the 
following  story :  — 

"  A  benighted  wayfarer  having  lost  his  way  somewhere 
amidst  the  wilds  of  our  Northwestern  frontiers,  the 
embarrassments  of  his  position  were  increased  by  a  furi- 
ous tempest  which  suddenly  burst  upon  him.  To  add 
to  the  discomforts  of  the  situation  his  horse  had  given 
out,  leaving  him  exposed  to  all  the  dangers  of  the  pitiless 
storm.  The  peals  of  thunder  were  terrific,  the  frequent 
flashes  of  lightning  affording  the  only  guide  to  the  route 
he  was  pursuing  as  he  resolutely  trudged  onward  leading 
his  jaded  steed.  The  earth  seemed  fairly  to  tremble 
beneath  him  in  the  war  of  elements.  One  bolt  threw 
him  suddenly  upon  his  knees.  Our  traveller  was  not  a 
prayerful  man,  but  finding  himself  involuntarily  brought 
to  an  attitude  of  devotion,  he  addressed  himself  to  the 
Throne  of  Grace  in  the  following  prayer  for  his  deliver- 


ance :  '  O  God  !  hear  my  prayer  this  time,  for  Thou 
knowest  it  is  not  often  that  I  call  upon  Thee.  And,  O 
Lord  !  if  it  is  all  the  same  to  Thee,  give  us  a  little  more 
light  and  a  little  less  noise  ! '  I  hope,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln, 
pointing  the  moral  of  the  anecdote,  "  that  we  may  have 
a  much  stronger  disposition  manifested  hereafter,  on  the 
part  of  our  civilian  warriors,  to  unite  in  suppressing  the 
rebellion,  and  a  little  less  noise  as  to  how  and  by  whom 
the  chief  executive  office  shall  be  administered." 



THE  character  of  no  statesman  in  all  the  history  of 
the  world  has  been  more  generally  or  more 
completely  misunderstood  than  that  of  Abraham  Lincoln. 
Many  writers  describe  him  as  a  mere  creature  of  circum- 
stances floating  like  a  piece  of  driftwood  on  the  current  of 
events ;  and  about  the  only  attribute  of  statesmanship  they 
concede  to  him  is  a  sort  of  instinctive  divination  of  the 
popular  feeling  at  a  given  period,  and  on  a  given  subject. 
They  do  not  thus  dwarf  Mr.  Lincoln  in  set  phrase  or 
formal  propositions,  but  that  is  the  logic  and  effect  of 
their  narratives.  Some  of  these  writers  go  even  further, 
and  represent  him  as  an  almost  unconscious  instrument 
in  the  hands  of  the  Almighty,  —  about  as  irresponsible  as 
the  cloud  by  day  and  the  pillar  of  fire  by  night  which 
went  before  the  Israelites  through  the  wilderness. 

The  truth  is,  that  Mr.  Lincoln  was  at  once  the  ablest 
and  the  most  adroit  politician  of  modern  times.  In  all 
the  history  of  the  world  I  can  recall  no  example  of  a 
great  leader,  having  to  do  with  a  people  in  any  degree 
free,  who  himself  shaped  and  guided  events  to  the  same 
extent,  unless  it  was  Julius  Caesar.  Mr.  Lincoln  was  not 
the  creature  of  circumstances.  He  made  circumstances 


to  suit  the  necessities  of  his  own  situation.  He  was  less 
influenced  by  the  inferior  minds  around  him  than  was 
Washington,  Jefferson,  or  Jackson.  His  policy  was  inva- 
riably formed  by  his  own  judgment,  and  it  seldom  took 
even  the  slightest  color  from  the  opinions  of  others,  how- 
ever decided.  In  this  originality  and  independence  of 
understanding  he  resembled  somewhat  the  great  William 
of  Orange. 

Mr.  Lincoln  was  supposed  at  the  outset  of  his  Admin- 
istration to  have  placed  himself,  as  it  were,  under  the 
tutelage  of  William  H.  Seward ;  and  later  he  was  gener- 
ally believed  to  have  abjectly  endured  the  almost  insult- 
ing domination  of  Edwin  M.  Stanton.  But  I  say  without 
the  slightest  fear  of  contradiction,  that  neither  Mr.  Seward 
nor  Mr.  Stanton,  great  men  as  they  both  were,  ever 
succeeded  either  in  leading  or  misleading  Mr.  Lincoln 
in  a  single  instance.  The  Administration  was  not  a 
week  old  when  Mr.  Seward  had  found  his  level,  and  the 
larger  purposes,  dangerous  and  revolutionary,  with  which 
Mr.  Stanton  entered  the  War  Department,  were  baffled 
and  defeated  before  he  had  time  to  fashion  the  instru- 
ments of  usurpation.  Consciously  or  unconsciously,  Mr. 
Seward  and  Mr.  Stanton,  like  others,  wrought  out  the 
will  of  the  great  man  who  had  called  them  to  his 
side  to  be  appropriately  used  in  furtherance  of  plans 
far  greater  and  more  comprehensive  than  they  themselves 
had  conceived. 

I  shall  not  linger  here  to  present  instances  of  this 
subordination  of  high  officials  and  party  leaders  to  Mr. 


Lincoln ;  they  may  be  gleaned  without  number  from  the 
published  histories  of  the  times.  I  shall  content  myself 
with  recounting  some  of  his  relations  with  the  illustrious, 
and  at  that  time  powerful,  Democratic  captain,  George 
B.  McClellan. 

General  McClellan  was  as  bitterly  disliked  by  the 
politicians  of  the  country  as  he  was  cordially  loved  by 
the  troops  under  his  command.  Whatever  may  be  said 
by  the  enemies  of  this  unsuccessful  general,  it  must  be 
remembered  that  he  took  command  of  the  Army  of  the 
Potomac  when  it  was  composed  of  a  mass  of  undisci- 
plined and  poorly  armed  men.  Yet  after  fighting  some 
of  the  hardest  battles  of  the  war,  he  left  it,  in  less  than 
eighteen  months,  a  splendid  military  organization,  well 
prepared  for  the  accomplishment  of  the  great  achieve- 
ments afterward  attained  by  General  Grant.  At  the 
time  McClellan  took  command  of  that  army,  the  South 
was  powerful  in  all  the  elements  of  successful  warfare. 
It  had  much  changed  when  General  Grant  took  com- 
mand. Long  strain  had  greatly  weakened  and  exhausted 
the  forces  and  resources  of  the  South.  There  had  come 
a  change  from  the  former  buoyant  bravery  of  hope  to 
the  desperate  bravery  of  doubtful  success;  and  it  may 
well  be  questioned  whether  any  commander  could  have 
crushed  the  rebellion  in  the  time  during  which  General 
McClellan  was  at  the  head  of  the  army.  That  he  lacked 
aggressiveness  must  be  admitted  by  his  most  ardent 
admirers.  His  greatness  as  a  defensive  general  pre- 
cluded this  quality.7 


At  one  time  when  things  seemed  at  a  standstill,  and 
no  aggressive  movements  could  be  induced  by  the 
anxious  Washington  authorities,  Mr.  Lincoln  went  to 
General  McClellan's  headquarters  to  have  a  talk  with 
him;  but  for  some  reason  he  was  unable  to  get  an 
audience  with  the  general.  He  returned  to  the  White 
House  much  disturbed  at  his  failure  to  see  the  com- 
mander of  the  Union  forces,  and  immediately  sent  for 
two  other  general  officers,  to  have  a  consultation.  On 
their  arrival,  he  told  them  he  must  have  some  one  to 
talk  to  about  the  situation ;  and  as  he  had  failed  to  see 
General  McClellan,  he  had  sent  for  them  to  get  their 
views  as  to  the  possibility  or  probability  of  soon  com- 
mencing active  operations  with  the  Army  of  the  Potomac. 
He  said  he  desired  an  expression  of  their  opinion  about 
the  matter,  for  his  was,  that,  if  something  were  not  done 
and  done  soon,  the  bottom  would  fall  out  of  the  whole 
thing ;  and  he  intended,  if  General  McClellan  did  not 
want  to  use  the  Army,  to  "  borrow "  it  from  him,  pro- 
vided he  could  see  how  it  could  be  made  to  do  some- 
thing ;  for,  said  he,  "  If  McClellan  can't  fish,  he  ought 
to  cut  bait  at  a  time  like  this." 

Mr.  Lincoln  never  regarded  General  McClellan  with 
personal  or  political  jealousy.  He  never  feared  him. 
He  once  profoundly  trusted  him,  and  to  the  very  last  he 
hoped  to  employ  his  genius  and  his  popularity  in  the 
deliverance  of  their  common  country.  His  unfailing 
sagacity  saw  in  him  a  rising  general,  who  should  be  at 
once  Democratic  and  patriotic,  —  the  readiest  possible 


instrument  of  harmonizing  the  North,  unifying  the  senti- 
ment of  the  army,  crushing  the  rebellion,  and  restoring 
the  Union.  Having,  then,  no  thought  of  imparting  to 
the  war  any  other  object  or  result  than  the  restoration  of 
the  Union,  pure  and  simple,  and  this  being  likewise 
McClellan's  view,  the  harmony  and  confidence  that 
obtained  between  them  were  plants  of  easy  growth. 
The  rise  of  discord,  the  political  intrigues,  Democratic 
and  Republican,  which  steadily  aimed  to  separate  these 
noble  characters,  who  were  as  steadily,  of  their  own 
impulses,  tending  toward  each  other,  —  these  are  mat- 
ters of  public  history.  Through  it  all,  Mr.  Lincoln 
earnestly  endeavored  to  support  McClellan  in  the  field  ; 
and  the  diversion  of  men  and  the  failure  of  supplies 
were  never  in  any  degree  due  to  a  desire  upon  his  part  to 
cripple  the  Democratic  general.  The  success  of  this 
Democratic  general  was  the  one  thing  necessary  to 
enable  the  President  to  hold  in  check  the  aggressive 
leaders  of  his  own  party,  to  restore  the  Union  with  the 
fewest  sacrifices,  and  to  complete  the  triumph  of  his 
Administration-  without  dependence  upon  interests  and 
factions  which  he  seriously  and  constantly  dreaded. 

One  of  the  most  striking  instances  of  Mr.  Lincoln's 
great  moral  courage  and  self-reliance  occurred  just  after 
the  second  battle  of  Bull  Run.  The  loss  of  this  battle 
caused  great  consternation,  not  only  in  Washington,  but 
throughout  the  whole  country.  Everything  was  thrown 
into  confusion.  All  the  Cabinet  officers,  except  Secre- 
tary Welles  and  Secretary  Seward  (the  latter  being 


absent  at  the  time),  signed  a  protest  denouncing  the 
conduct  of  McClellan  and  demanding  his  immediate 
dismissal  from  the  service, — which  protest,  however, 
was  not  delivered  to  the  President.  The  feeling  of 
indignation  was  very  general  throughout  the  country 
against  McClellan,  and  it  was  greatly  intensified  by 
exaggerated  reports  of  his  supposed  misconduct.  Not- 
withstanding this  deplorable  state  of  things,  McClellan 
was  appointed  in  command  of  the  forces  at  Washington. 
At  a  Cabinet  meeting  held  three  days  after  this  battle, 
the  members  first  learned  of  this  appointment.  They 
were  thunderstruck  at  the  announcement,  and  great 
regret  was  expressed.  Mr.  Stanton,  with  some  excite- 
ment, remarked  that  no  such  order  had  issued  from  the 
War  Department.  The  President  then  said  with  great 
calmness,  but  with  some  degree  of  emphasis,  "  No,  Mr. 
Secretary,  the  order  was  mine ;  and  I  will  be  respon- 
sible for  it  to  the  country."  By  way  of  explanation,  he 
said  something  had  to  be  done;  but  there  did  not 
appear  to  be  any  one  to  do  it,  and  he  therefore  took 
the  responsibility  on  himself.  He  then  continued  to 
say  that  McClellan  had  the  confidence  of  the  troops 
beyond  any  other  officer,  and  could,  under  the  circum- 
stances, more  speedily  and  effectively  reorganize  them 
and  put  them  into  fighting  trim  than  any  other  general. 
"  This  is  what  is  now  wanted  most ;  and  these,"  said 
the  President,  "were  my  reasons  for  placing  him  in 

Mr.  Lincoln  well  knew  the  danger,  and  was  appre- 


hensive  of  losing  perhaps  all  except  one  of  his  Cabinet 
members  by  this  action ;  but  he  felt  at  the  same  time 
deeper  apprehension  of  danger  to  the  whole  country  if  ^f 
the  army  were  not  immediately  reorganized  and  fitted 
for  instant  action.  He  knew  he  could  replace  his  Cabi- 
net from  the  patriotic  men  of  his  acquaintance,  but  he 
feared  he  could  not  replace  the  army  in  statu  quo  unless 
he  took  the  risk  of  losing  them.  He  fully  realized,  as 
he  said,  that  nearly  all  the  trouble  had  grown  out  of 
military  jealousies,  and  that  it  was  time  for  some  one  to 
assert  and  exercise  power.  He  caused  personal  con- 
siderations to  be  sacrificed  for  the  public  good,  and  in 
doing  so  he  subdued  his  own  personal  feelings  in  the 
spirit  of  unselfish  patriotism.8 

Between  Francis  P.  Blair  and  Mr.  Lincoln  there 
existed  from  first  to  last  a  confidential  relationship  as 
close  as  that  maintained  by  Mr.  Lincoln  with  any  other 
man.  To  Mr.  Blair  he  almost  habitually  revealed  him- 
self upon  delicate  and  grave  subjects  more  fully  than  to 
any  other.  When  he  had  conceived  an  important  but 
difficult  plan,  he  was  almost  certain,  before  giving  it 
practical  form,  to  try  it  by  the  touchstone  of  Mr.  Blair's 
fertile  and  acute  mind.  Mr.  Blair  understood  Mr.  Lin- 
coln's conception  of  the  importance  of  McClellan  to  the 
President  and  to  the  country,  and,  like  the  President 
himself,  he  realized  that  McClellan's  usefulness,  unless 
destroyed  by  some  disaster  in  the  field,  could  be 
abridged  only  by  some  needless  misunderstanding  be- 
tween the  two.  He  knew  the  stubborn  spirit  of  the 


I  Democratic  party  from  long  experience  in  it  and  with 
it;  and  he  early  foresaw  the  tremendous  influence 
which  would  inevitably  be  brought  to  bear  on  McClellan 
to  separate  him  from  Lincoln.  It  was  because  he  fore- 
saw this  that  he  desired  to  place  nearest  to  General 
McClellan  in  the  field  some  one  who,  having  the  com- 
plete confidence  of  both,  would  form  a  connecting  link 
which  could  not  be  broken. 

To  this  end,  about  the  time  General  Pleasanton  was 
appointed  brigadier- general,  and  assigned  to  report  to 
General  McClellan,  Mr.  Blair  sought  a  conference  with 
him  and  said  :  "  You  are  going  to  McClellan.  You  will 
have  confidential  relations  with  him.  I  like  him,  and  I 
want  him  to  succeed;  but  no  general  can  succeed 
without  proper  relations  with  the  Administration.  Say 
to  him  from  me  that  Frank  P.  Blair,  Jr.,  can  be  of  great 
service  to  him.  I  shall  have  access  to  the  Administra- 
tion, and  can  do  much  to  keep  McClellan  right.  Say  to 
him  that  he  ought  to  ask  for  the  assignment  of  .Blair  to 
him,  and  to  make  him  his  chief  of  staff.  Now,  Pleasan- 
ton, when  you  get  down  in  Virginia,  say  this  to  Mac, 
and  telegraph  me  the  result." 

It  was  then  agreed  that  the  communication  should  be 
in  cipher.  If  favorable,  "  The  weather  is  fair;  "  if 
otherwise,  "  The  weather  is  fair,  but  portends  a  storm." 
Mr.  Blair's  message  was  given  to  McClellan,  and  Gene- 
ral Pleasanton  saw  that  it  made  an  impression ;  but 
General  McClellan  faltered,  subject,  no  doubt,  to  some 
of  the  influences  that  Mr.  Blair  had  foreseen.  After 


three  days'  deliberation,  the  "  bad  weather  "  was  indi- 
cated to  Mr.  Blair. 

In  the  campaign  for  Presidential  honors  in  1864,  Gene- 
ral McClellan,  in  his  letter  of  acceptance,  repudiated  the 
obvious  meaning  of  the  Democratic  platform  framed  for 
his  candidacy.  The  Convention  demanded  "  a  cessation  of 
hostilities  with  a  view  of  an  ultimate  convention  of  States." 
To  this  McClellan  responded :  "  So  soon  as  it  is  clear, 
or  even  probable,  that  our  present  adversaries  are  ready 
for  peace  on  the  basis  of  the  Union,  we  should  exhaust 
all  the  resources  of  statesmanship  ...  to  secure  such  a 
peace."  In  this  he  stood  precisely  with  Lincoln.  The 
sentiments  of  the  representatives  of  the  Democratic 
party  in  Convention  assembled  seemed  to  be :  Peace 
first,  and  Union  would  inevitably  follow.  The  sentiments 
of  the  respective  chosen  party  standard-bearers  were : 
Union  first,  that  peace  might  follow. 

There  was  at  no  time  during  the  campaign  a  reason- 
able doubt  of  the  election  of  Mr.  Lincoln  over  General 
McClellan.  Early  in  this  campaign,  on  going  into  Mr. 
Lincoln's  office  one  night,  I  found  him  in  a  more  gleeful 
humor  than  usual.  He  was  alone,  and  said,  "  I  am  glad 
you  have  come  in.  Lamon,  do  you  know  that  '  we  have 
met  the  enemy,  and  they  are  ourn  ? '  I  think  the  cabal 
of  obstructionists  '  am  busted  ! '  I  feel  certain  that  if  I 
live,  I  am  going  to  be  re-elected.  Whether  I  deserve  to 
be  or  not,  it  is  not  for  me  to  say ;  but  on  the  score  even 
of  remunerative  chances  for  speculative  service,  I  now 
am  inspired  with  the  hope  that  our  disturbed  country 


further  requires  the  valuable  services  of  your  humble 
servant.  'Jordan  has  been  a  hard  road  to  travel,'  but 
I  feel  now  that,  notwithstanding  the  enemies  I  have  made 
and  the  faults  I  have  committed,  I  '11  be  dumped  .on  the 
right  side  of  that  stream.  I  hope,  however,  that  I  may 
never  have  another  four  years  of  such  anxiety,  tribulation, 
and  abuse.  My  only  ambition  is  and  has  been  to  put 
down  the  rebellion  and  restore  peace ;  after  which  I 
want  to  resign  my  office,  go  abroad,  take  some  rest, 
study  foreign  governments,  see  something  of  foreign  life, 
and  in  my  old  age  die  in  peace  with  the  good  will  of 
all  of  God's  creatures." 

About  two  weeks  before  the  election,  Mr.  Lincoln 
began  to  consider  how  to  make  the  result  most  decisive. 
He  again  recurred  to  McClellan,  and  again  consulted 
Mr.  Blair.  It  seemed  that  neither  of  these  sagacious 
men  could  entirely  free  himself  from  the  thought  that  in 
one  way  or  another  General  McClellan,  with  the  Demo- 
cratic party  at  his  back,  was  somehow  to  contribute  a 
mighty  blow  toward  the  suppression  of  the  rebellion  and 
the  pacification  of  the  country.  With  the  respect  which 
they  both  entertained  for  General  McClellan's  intelli- 
gence, with  the  faith  they  both  had  in  his  patriotism, 
they  did  not  doubt  that,  seeing  as  they  did  the  utter 
impossibility  of  his  own  election  to  the  Presidency,  he 
would  be  willing,  if  the  way  were  graciously  opened  to 
him,  to  save  his  party  from  the  humiliation  of  a  crushing 
defeat,  to  use  his  remaining  power  to  restore  the  Union 
without  further  unnecessary  bloodshed,  and  to  tranquil- 


lize  the  country  without  more  needless  and  heedless 
political  strife. 

Mr.  Lincoln  said  to  Mr.  Blair :  "  I  shall  be  re-elected. 
No  one  can  doubt  it.  I  do  not  doubt  it,  nor  do  you. 
It  is  patent  to  all.  General  McClellan  must  see  it  as 
plainly  as  we  do.  Why  should  he  not  act  upon  it,  and 
help  me  to  give  peace  to  this  distracted  country  ?  Would 
it  not  be  a  glorious  thing  for  the  Union  cause  and  the 
country,  now  that  my  re-election  is  certain,  for  him  to 
decline  to  run,  favor  my  election,  and  make  certain  a 
speedy  termination  of  this  bloody  war?  Don't  you 
believe  that  such  a  course  upon  his  part  would  unify 
public  partisan  sentiment,  and  give  a  decisive  and  fatal 
blow  to  all  opposition  to  the  re-establishment  of  peace 
in  the  country?  I  think  he  is  man  enough  and  patriot 
enough  to  do  it.  Do  you?  You  have  been  his  friend 
and  mine.  Will  you  try  this  last  appeal  to  General 
McClellan's  patriotism  ?  " 

Mr.  Blair  heartily  assented;  and,  as  the  result  of 
their  consultation,  Mr.  Lincoln  wrote  a  most  remarkable 
autograph  letter  to  his  rival,  suggesting  that  he  retire 
from  the  canvass  and  allow  Mr.  Lincoln's  election,  then 
visibly  impending,  to  be  as  nearly  unanimous  as  might 
be.  The  compensations  to  General  McClellan  and  his 
party  for  the  timely  relinquishment  of  a  mere  shadow 
were  to  be  McClellan's  immediate  elevation  to  be  Gene- 
ral of  the  Army,  the  appointment  of  his  father-in-law, 
Marcy,  to  be  major-general,  and  the  very  substantial 
recognition  of  the  Democracy  which  would  necessarily 

have  followed  these  arrangements. 


This  letter  containing  these  distinct  propositions  was 
placed  in  Mr.  Blair's  hands,  and  by  him  delivered  to 
General  McClellan.'  It  was  the  attempted  stroke  of  a 
master.  Had  it  succeeded,  —  had  the  propositions  con- 
tained in  the  letter  been  accepted,  —  Mr.  Lincoln  might 
have  lived  to  prevent  the  follies  and  the  crimes  of  recon- 
struction, and  to  bless  his  country  with  an  era  of  peace 
and  good -will,  —  thus  preventing  those  long  years  of 
ferocious  political  contention  over  the  results  of  the  war 
which  followed  its  conclusion  and  his  murder. 

What  the  great  soldier  might  have  done,  if  left  alone 
to  determine  for  himself  the  proper  course  of  action  in 
the  premises,  can  never  be  known. 

The  letter  was  submitted  by  General  McClellan  to 
some  of  his  party  friends  in  New  York,  and  its  wise  and 
statesmanlike  propositions  were  declined.  On  the  morn- 
ing of  the  election  he  resigned  his  commission.  His 
party  was  routed,  and  upon  the  death  of  Mr.  Lincoln 
was  opened  the  new  Iliad  of  partisan  conflict  and  recon- 
struction woes. 

Mr.  Lincoln  fearlessly  struck  out  and  boldly  pursued, 
in  situations  the  most  exacting,  capital  plans,  of  which 
none  knew  except  those  who  might  be  absolutely  ne- 
cessary to  their  execution.  If  he  failed  in  the  patriotic 
objects  which  he  proposed  to  accomplish  by  coalition 
with  McClellan,  and  was  ultimately  compelled  to  achieve 
them  by  less  Napoleonic  and  more  tedious  methods,  the 
splendid  conception  and  the  daring  attempt  were  his 
alone,  and  prove  him  one  of  the  most  masterful  politi- 


cians  of  this  or  any  recent  age.  The  division  of  the 
Roman  world  between  the  members  of  the  Triumvirate 
was  not  comparable  to  this  proposal  of  his,  because  the 
Roman  was  a  smaller  world  than  the  American,  and  it 
was  partitioned  among  three,  while  this  was  only  to  be 

More  than  a  quarter  of  a  century  has  passed,  and  still 
the  press  teems  with  inquiries  concerning  the  relations 
between  Lincoln  and  McClellan,  with  accusation  and 
defense  by  the  literary  partisans  of  each.  Had  the 
general  seen  fit  to  respond  to  the  magnanimous  tender 
of  the  President,  their  names  would  have  been  equally 
sacred  hi  every  American  household,  and  their  fame 
would  have  been  united,  like  their  parties  and  their 
country,  by  an  act  of  patriotic  statesmanship  unparalleled 
in  the  history  of  this  world. 



MR.  LINCOLN  regarded  all  public  offices  within 
his  gift  as  a  sacred  trust,  to  be  administered 
solely  for  the  people,  and  as  in  no  sense  a  fund  upon 
which  he  could  draw  for  the  payment  of  private  ac- 
counts. He  was  exempt  from  the  frailties  common  to 
most  men,  and  he  cast  aside  the  remembrance  of  all 
provocations  for  which  he  had  cause  to  nourish  resent- 
ment. Here  is  a  notable  instance :  A  rather  distin- 
guished man  had  been  for  years  a  respected  acquaintance ; 
his  son,  who  was  in  the  army,  was  convicted  of  a  grave 
offence,  the  penalty  of  which  might  have  been  death. 
Lincoln,  at  the  solicitation  of  the  father,  pardoned  the 
son.  Time  passed  on  until  the  political  campaign  of 
1864,  when  a  secret  military  organization  was  formed  in 
the  State  of  Illinois  to  oppose  the  re-election  of  Lincoln, 
and  that  father  was  at  the  head  of  this  secret  organiza- 
tion. Some  time  after  the  election,  the  filling  of  an 
important  bureau  office  in  the  Treasury  Department  was 
under  advisement.  Among  the  applicants  was  an  old 
acquaintance  of  Mr.  Lincoln,  who  was  strongly  recom- 
mended by.  his  friends.  After  a  pause,  Mr.  Lincoln 


thoughtfully  said,  "  Well,  gentlemen,  whatever  you  may 

think,  I  never  thought  Mr. had  any  more  than  an 

average  amount  of  ability  when  we  were  young  men 
together,  —  I  really  didn't;"  and  then,  after  a  short 
silence,  he  added  :  "  But  this  is  a  matter  of  opinion,  and 
I  suppose  he  thought  just  the  same  about  me ;  he  had 
reason  to,  and  —  here  I  am  !  I  guess  we  shall  have  to 
give  him  some  good  place,  but  not  this  one.  This  posi- 
tion requires  a  man  of  peculiar  ability  to  fill  it.  I  have 
been  thinking  seriously  of  giving  it  to  a  man  who  does 
not  like  me  very  well,  and  who  sought  to  defeat  my 
renomination.  I  can't  afford  to  take  notice  of  and 
punish  every  person  who  has  seen  fit  to  oppose  my 
election.  We  want  a  competent  man  for  this  place.  I 
know  of  no  one  who  could  perform  the  duties  of  this 

most  responsible  office  better  than ."  calling  him  by 

name.     And  this  ingrate  father  got  the  appointment ! 

At  another  time  there  was  an  interview  at  the  White 
House  between  a  prominent  politician  of  New  York  and 
Mr.  Lincoln,  in  reference  to  the  removal  of  an  office- 
holder in  New  York.  Every  reason  that  could  be 
thought  of  was  urged  in  favor  of  the  removal,  and  finally 
it  was  urged  that  this  office-holder  abused  Mr.  Lincoln 
personally.  Mr.  Lincoln  at  last  got  out  of  patience,  and 

ended  the  interview  as  follows  :  "  You  cannot  think 

to  be  half  as  mean  to  me  as  I  know  him  to  be ;  but  I 
cannot  run  this  thing  upon  the  theory  that  every  office- 
holder must  think  I  am  the  greatest  man  in  the  nation, 
and  I  will  not."  The  man  named,  notwithstanding  his 


meanness  to  Mr.  Lincoln,  remained  in  office  as  long  as 
Mr.  Lincoln  was  President. 

So  much  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  time  was  taken  up  with 
questions  of  office-seeking  and  office-holding,  when  he 
felt  every  moment  should  be  devoted  to  plans  to  avert 
the  perils  then  threatening  the  country,  that  he  once 
compared  himself  to  "  a  man  so  busy  in  letting  rooms  in 
one  end  of  his  house  that  he  cannot  stop  to  put  out  the 
fire  that  is  burning  the  other." 

Mr.  Lincoln  was  an  ambitious  man,  but  he  desired 
power  less  for  the  sake  of  prestige  or  authority  than  for 
the  opportunities  it  presented  of  being  useful  and  bene- 
ficent in  its  exercise.  Eagerly  as  he  sought  the  approval 
of  his  fellow-citizens  where  this  could  be  attained  with- 
out the  sacrifice  of  principle,  he  was  always  generous  in 
according  to  others  whatever  would  lead  to  public  ap- 
proval. Immediately  after  the  battle  of  Gettysburg,  Mr. 
Lincoln  sat  down  and  wrote  a  peremptory  order  to 
General  Meade  to  intercept  Lee  in  his  retreat,  give  him 
battle,  and  by  this  bold  stroke  crush  the  rebel  army  and 
end  the  rebellion.  The  order  was  accompanied  by  a 
friendly  note,  in  which  the  great  patriot  said  to  Meade  : 
"  The  order  I  inclose  is  not  of  record.  If  you  succeed, 
you  need  not  publish  the  order.  If  you  fail,  publish  it. 
Then  if  you  succeed,  you  will  have  all  the  credit  of  the 
movement.  If  not,  I  '11  take  the  responsibility." 

The  manifestation  of  popular  admiration  and  esteem 
as  the  people's  choice  for  the  highest  position  within 
their  gift,  Mr.  Lincoln  most  highly  valued,  while  his  self- 



reliance  and  his  amour propre  led  him  at  times  to  look 
upon  favors  bestowed  upon  him  as  a  matter  of  personal 
right,  as  a  consideration  due  to  himself  individually. 
With  all  this,  his  love  of  country  was  his  paramount 
incentive.  There  was  no  period  in  the  progress  of  the 
war  at  which  he  would  not  willingly  have  laid  down  his 
life,  if  by  so  doing  he  could  have  averted  further  blood- 
shed, and  remanded  his  fellow-countrymen  to  the  enjoy- 
ment of  a  restored  tranquillity  and  renewed  brotherhood. 
One  instance  in  which  this  sentiment  led  him  to  propose 
an  extraordinary  act  of  self-immolation  is  deserving  of 
special  mention. 

Mr.  Lincoln  ardently  desired,  on  the  return  of  peace, 
to  exercise  his  functions  as  Chief  Magistrate  of  a  re- 
united country.  This,  with  the  reconstruction  of  the 
general  government,  was  the  darling  aspiration  of  his 
heart,  the  dearest  heritage  which  the  advent  of  peace 
could  bestow.  But  he  subjected  this  ambition  to  the 
promptings  of  a  Roman  patriotism,  and  proposed  upon 
certain  conditions  a  frank,  full,  and  honest  renunciation 
of  all  claims  to  the  Presidency  for  a  second  term ;  and 
in  declining,  under  any  circumstances,  to  be  a  candidate 
for  re-election,  he  would  cordially  throw  his  entire  influ- 
ence, in  so  far  as  he  could  control  it,  in  behalf  of  Horatio 
Seymour,  then  governor  of  New  York,  for  President. 
The  conditions  were  substantially  as  follows :  Governor 
Seymour  was  to  withdraw  his  opposition  to  the  draft,  use 
his  authority  and  influence  as  governor  in  putting  down 
the  riots  in  New  York,  and  co-operate  in  all  reasonable 


ways  with  the  Administration  in  the  suppression  of  the 
Southern  rebellion.  This  proposition  was  to  be  made 
through  Mr.  Thurlow  Weed. 

It  so  happened  that  at  this  time  Mr.  Weed  was  dis- 
satisfied with  the  President  for  something  he  had  either 
done  or  omitted  to  do,  and  had  on  several  occasions 
refused  to  come  to  Washington  when  his  presence  was 
earnestly  desired  there.  He  must  now  be  seen  and 
advised  with ;  he  must  personally  effect  the  negotiation, 
for  he  could  accomplish  it  more  successfully  than  any 
other  man.  How  to  induce  him  to  come  to  Washing- 
ton was  the  question  to  be  solved.  "  The  tinkling  of 
Mr.  Seward's  little  bell "  had  struck  terror  to  the  souls 
of  evil-doers  in  the  North,  and  all  his  dispatches  over  the 
wires  were  narrowly  watched.  It  was  inexpedient  for 
him  to  use  telegraphic  facilities  of  communication  except 
upon  the  most  commonplace  subjects,  since  everything 
emanating  from  him  was  eagerly  scanned  and  devoured 
by  the  quid  nuncs  throughout  the  country.  A  special 
messenger  was  therefore  decided  on,  for  affairs  were 
now  in  a  precarious  condition,  and  daily,  hourly  growing 
worse,  and  time  was  important.  The  messenger  started 
immediately  for  New  York,  but  was  recalled  before 
reaching  the  train.  He  was  thereupon  directed  to  tele- 
graph in  his  own  name  to  Mr.  Weed,  and  that  gentleman 
arrived  in  Washington  by  the  next  succeeding  train. 
After  a  lengthy  interview  with  the  President  and  Mr. 
Seward,  Mr.  Weed  telegraphed  to  Governor  Seymour 
requesting  him  to  come  to  Washington  on  business  of 


urgent  importance.  This  the  governor  declined  to  do, 
adding,  in  his  reply,  that  the  distance  to  and  from  Wash- 
ington and  Albany  was  precisely  the  same,  and  that  if 
they  wanted  to  confer  with  him,  to  come  to  Albany, 
where  he  would  be  glad  to  meet  them.  Mr.  Weed, 
upon  this,  left  for  that  city,  and  after  making  a  very 
brief  stay  there,  returned  to  Washington  and  reported 
"  Proposition  declined." 

This  answer  was  not  expected  by  Mr.  Lincoln,  espe- 
cially in  time  of  civil  war,  and  from  the  governor  of  the 
great  and  influential  State  of  New  York;  and  it  was 
with  sincere  and  manifest  chagrin  that  the  President 
saw  himself  deterred  from  making  the  magnanimous  self- 
sacrifice  proposed. 

Nothing  that  affected  the  interests  of  the  government 
escaped  Mr.  Lincoln's  vigilant  thought  and  careful  con- 
sideration. I  recollect  that  on  one  occasion,  just  after 
the  greenback  currency  got  under  full  headway  of  circu- 
lation, I  was  in  his  office  when  the  conversation  turned 
on  the  condition  of  our  finances,  and  on  the  greenback 
as  a  representative  of  money.  He  was  in  high  spirits 
that  day,  and  seemed  to  feel  happier  than  I  had  seen 
him  for  a  long  time.  I  casually  asked  him  if  he  knew 
how  our  currency  was  made. 

"Yes,"  said  he  ;  "I  think  it  is  about  —  as  the  lawyers 
would  say  —  in  the  following  manner,  to  wit :  the  en- 
graver strikes  off  the  sheets,  passes  them  over  to  the 
Register  of  the  currency,  who  places  his  earmarks  upon 
them,  signs  them,  hands  them  over  to  Father  Spinner, 


who  then  places  his  wonderful  signature  at  the  bottom, 
and  turns  them  over  to  Mr.  Chase,  who,  as  Secretary  of 
the  United  States  Treasury,  issues  them  to  the  public  as 
money,  —  and  may  the  good  Lord  help  any  fellow  that 
does  n't  take  all  he  can  honestly  get  of  them  !  "  Taking 
from  his  pocket  a  five  dollar  greenback,  with  a  twinkle 
of  his  eye,  he  said :  "  Look  at  Spinner's  signature ! 
Was  there  ever  anything  like  it  on  earth  ?  Yet  it  is  unmis- 
takable ;  no  one  will  ever  be  able  to  counterfeit  it ! "  * 

"  But,"  I  said,  "  you  certainly  don't  suppose  that 
Spinner  actually  wrote  his  name  on  that  bill,  do  you?  " 

"  Certainly  I  do ;  why  not?  " 

I  then  asked,  "  How  much  of  this  currency  have  we 

He  remained  thoughtful  for  a  moment,  and  then 
stated  the  amount. 

I  continued  :  "  How  many  times  do  you  think  a  man 
can  write  a  signature  like  Spinner's  in  the  course  of 
twenty- four  hours  ?  " 

The  beam  of  hilarity  left  his  countenance  at  once. 
He  put  the  greenback  into  his  vest  pocket,  and  walked 
the  floor ;  after  awhile  he  stopped,  heaved  a  long  breath 
and  said,  "  This  thing  frightens  me  !  "  He  then  rang 
for  a  messenger,  and  told  him  to  ask  the  Secretary  of 
the  Treasury  to  please  come  over  to  see  him.  Mr. 
Chase  soon  put  in  an  appearance.  Mr.  Lincoln  stated 
the  cause  of  his  alarm,  and  asked  Mr.  Chase  to  explain 
in  detail  the  modus  operandi,  the  system  of  checks  in 



his  office,  etc.,  and  a  lengthy  discussion  followed, — 
Lincoln  contending  that  there  were  not  sufficient  checks 
to  afford  any  degree  of  safety  in  the  money-making 
department,  and  Mr.  Chase  insisting  that  all  the  guards 
for  protection  were  afforded  that  he  could  devise.  "  In 
the  nature  of  things,"  he  said,  "  somebody  must  be 
trusted  in  this  emergency.  You  have  entrusted  me,  and 
Mr.  Spinner  is  entrusted  with  untold  millions,  and  we 
have  to  trust  our  subordinates."  Words  waxed  warmer 
than  I  had  ever  known  them  to  do  between  these  dis- 
tinguished gentlemen,  when  Mr.  Lincoln  feelingly  apolo- 
gized by  saying, — 

"  Don't  think  that  I  am  doubting  or  could  doubt  your 
integrity,  or  that  of  Mr.  Spinner ;  nor  am  I  finding  fault 
with  either  of  you ;  but  it  strikes  me  that  this  thing  is  all 
wrong,  and  dangerous.  I  and  the  country  know  you  and 
Mr.  Spinner,  but  we  don't  know  your  subordinates,  who 
are  great  factors  in  making  this  money,  and  have  the 
power  to  bankrupt  the  government  in  an  hour.  Yet 
there  seems  to  be  no  protection  against  a  duplicate 
issue  of  every  bill  struck,  and  I  can  see  no  way  of  de- 
tecting duplicity  until  we  come  to  redeem  the  currency ; 
and  even  then,  the  duplicate  cannot  be  told  from  the 

The  result  of  this  conversation  was,  that  Lincoln 
became  so  impressed  with  danger  from  this  source  that 
he  called  the  attention  of  Congress  to  the  matter,  and  a 
joint  committee  was  appointed.  Senator  Sprague  of 
Rhode  Island  was  its  chairman;  but  the  result  of  the 


investigation,  like  many  others  during  the  war,  was  never 
made  public  to  my  knowledge.  Considering  the  crippled 
financial  condition  of  our  country,  and  the  importance 
of  first-class  credit  abroad  during  our  war,  as  little 
publicity  on  the  subject  as  possible  was  doubtless  the 
best  for  us  politically. 

Apropos  of  greenbacks,  Don  Piatt  gave  a  description 
in  the  "  North  American  Review,"  a  few  years  ago,  of 
the  first  proposition  to  Mr.  Lincoln  to  issue  interest- 
bearing  notes  as  currency,  which  was  as  follows  :  — 

"  Amasa  Walker,  a  distinguished  financier  of  New  Eng- 
land, suggested  that  notes  issued  directly  from  the  govern- 
ment to  the  people,  as  currency,  should  bear  interest.  This 
for  the  purpose,  not  only  of  making  the  notes  popular,  but 
for  the  purpose  of  preventing  inflation,  by  inducing  people 
to  hoard  the  notes  as  an  investment  when  the  demands  of 
trade  would  fail  to  call  them  into  circulation  as  a  currency. 

"  This  idea  struck  David  Taylor,  of  Ohio,  with  such  force 
that  he  sought  Mr.  Lincoln  and  urged  him  to  put  the  project 
into  immediate  execution.  The  President  listened  patiently, 
and  at  the  end  said,  'That  is  a  good  idea,  Taylor;  but  you 
must  go  to  Chase.  He  is  running  that  end  of  the  machine, 
and  has  time  to  consider  your  proposition.'  Taylor  sought 
the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury,  and  laid  before  him  Amasa 
Walker's  plan.  Chase  heard  him  through  in  a  cold,  unpleas- 
ant manner,  and  then  said:  'That  is  all  very  well,  Mr. 
Taylor;  but  there  is  one  little  obstacle  in  the  way  that  makes 
the  plan  impracticable,  and  that  is  the  Constitution.'  Saying 
this,  he  turned  to  his  desk,  as  if  dismissing  both  Mr.  Taylor 
and  his  proposition  at  the  same  moment. 

"  The  poor  enthusiast  felt  rebuked  and  humiliated.  He 
'  returned  to  the  President,  however,  and  reported  his  defeat 


Mr.  Lincoln  looked  at  the  would-be  financier  with  the  expres» 
sion  at  times  so  peculiar  to  his  homely  face,  that  left  one  in 
doubt  whether  he  was  jesting  or  in  earnest.  'Taylor!'  he 
exclaimed,  '  go  back  to  Chase  and  tell  him  not  to  bother 
himself  about  the  Constitution.  Say  that  I  have  that  sacred 
instrument  here  at  the  White  House,  and  I  am  guarding  it 
with  great  care. '  Taylor  demurred  to  this,  on  the  ground 
that  Mr.  Chase  showed  by  his  manner  that  he  knew  all  about 
it,  and  did  n't  wish  to  be  bored  by  any  suggestion.  '  We  '11  see 
about  that,'  said  the  President,  and  taking  a  card  from  the 
table  he  wrote  upon  it,  '  The  Secretary  of  the  Treasury  will 
please  consider  Mr.  Taylor's  proposition.  We  must  have 
money,  and  I  think  this  a  good  way  to  get  it.  —  A.  LINCOLN.' 

"  Armed  with  this,  the  real  father  of  the  greenbacks  again 
sought  the  Secretary.  He  was  received  more  politely  than 
before,  but  was  cut  short  in  his  advocacy  of  the  measure  by 
a  proposition  for  both  of  them  to  see  the  President.  They 
did  so,  and  Mr.  Chase  made  a  long  and  elaborate  constitu- 
tional argument  against  the  proposed  measure. 

" '  Chase,'  said  Mr.  Lincoln,  after  the  Secretary  had  con- 
cluded, '  down  in  Illinois  I  was  held  to  be  a  pretty  good 
lawyer,  and  I  believe  I  could  answer  every  point  you  have 
made;  but  I  don't  feel  called  upon  to  do  it.  ...  These 
rebels  are  violating  the  Constitution  to  destroy  the  Union ; 
I  will  violate  the  Constitution,  if  necessary,  to  save  the 
Union :  and  I  suspect,  Chase,  that  our  Constitution  is  going 
to  have  a  rough  time  of  it  before  we  get  done  with  this  row. 
Now,  what  I  want  to  know  is,  whether,  Constitution  aside, 
this  project  of  issuing  interest-bearing  notes  is  a  good  one  ?' 

"'I  must  say,'  responded  Mr.  Chase,  'that,  with  the 
exception  you  make,  it  is  not  only  a  good  one,  but  the  only 
one  open  to  us  to  raise  money.  If  you  say  so,  I  will  do 
my  best  to  put  it  into  immediate  and  practical  operation, 
and  you  will  never  hear  from  me  any  opposition  on  this 


Mr.  Lincoln  acquired  the  name  of  "  honest  Abe  Lin- 
coln "  by  a  kind  of  honesty  much  higher  than  that 
which  restrains  a  man  from  the  appropriation  of  his 
neighbor's  goods.  He  did  not  feel  at  liberty  to  take 
every  case  that  was  offered  him.  He  was  once  over- 
heard saying  to  a  man  who  was  consulting  him  and 
earnestly  urging  his  legal  rights,  "Yes,  I  can  gain  your 
suit.  I  can  set  a  neighborhood  at  loggerheads.  I  can 
distress  a  widowed  mother  and  six  fatherless  children, 
and  get  for  you  six  hundred  dollars,  to  which,  for  all  I 
can  see,  she  has  as  good  a  right  as  you  have.  But  I  will 
not  do  so.  There  are  some  legal  rights  which  are  moral 

Mr.  Lincoln  at  no  time  in  his  life  could  tolerate  any- 
thing like  persecution;  his  whole  nature  appeared  to 
rebel  against  any  appearance  of  such  a  thing,  and  he 
never  failed  to  act  in  the  promptest  manner  when  any 
such  case  was  brought  to  his  attention.  One  of  the  most 
celebrated  cases  ever  tried  by  any  court-martial  during 
the  war  was  that  of  Franklin  W.  Smith  and  his  brother, 
charged  with  defrauding  the  government.  These  men 
bore  a  high  character  for  integrity.  At  this  time,  how- 
ever, courts-martial  were  seldom  invoked  for  any  other 
purpose  than  to  convict  the  accused,  regardless  of  the 
facts  in  the  case,  and  the  Smiths  shared  the  usual  fate  of 
persons  whose  charges  were  submitted  to  such  an  arbitra- 
ment. They  had  been  kept  in  prison,  their  papers  seized, 
their  business  destroyed,  and  their  reputation  ruined,  all 
which  was  followed  by  a  conviction.  After  the  judg- 


ment  of  the  court,  the  matter  was  submitted  to  the 
President  for  his  approval.  The  case  was  such  a  remark- 
able one,  and  was  regarded  as  so  monstrous  in  its  unjust 
and  unwarrantable  conclusion,  that  Mr.  Lincoln,  after  a 
full  and  careful  investigation  of  it,  annulled  the  whole 
proceeding.  It  is  very  remarkable  that  the  record  of 
the  President's  decision  could  never  be  found  afterward 
in  the  Navy  Department.  No  exact  copy  can  be 
obtained  of  it.  Some  one  in  the  office,  however,  familiar 
with  the  tenor  and  effect  of  it,  furnished  its  wording  as 
nearly  as  possible.  The  following  embraces  the  senti- 
ment, if  not  the  exact  words,  of  that  remarkable  docu- 
ment :  — 

"  WHEREAS,  Franklin  W.  Smith  had  transactions  with 
the  Navy  Department  to  the  amount  of  a  million  and  a 
quarter  of  dollars ;  and  Whereas,  he  had  a  chance  to  steal  at 
least  a  quarter  of  a  million  and  was  only  charged  with  steal- 
ing twenty-two  hundred  dollars,  and  the  question  now  is 
about  his  stealing  one  hundred,  I  don't  believe  he  stole  any- 
thing at  all.  Therefore,  the  record  and  the  findings  are 
disapproved,  declared  null  and  void,  and  the  defendants  are 
fully  discharged." 

In  1862  Senator  Sherman  had  prepared  a  very  elabor- 
ate speech  in  which  he  devoted  a  good  portion  of  it  to 
prove  that  Mr.  Lincoln  was  a  failure  and  unless  some- 
thing was  soon  done  by  Congress,  the  war  would  be  a 
failure.  Someone  told  Mr.  Lincoln  that  Senator  Sher- 
man intended  to  make  such  a  speech.  Lincoln  said : 
"  Well  Sherman  is  a  patriot  and  a  statesman  and  is  thor- 
oughly for  the  Union  ;  perhaps  his  opinion  of  me  may  be 


jusf.  It  may  do  good.  I  would  not  have  him  change 
a  word."  Lincoln's  remarks  that  night  were  repeated 
to  Sherman  and  they  made  such  an  impression  on  him 
that  he  omitted  from  his  speech  the  criticism  on  Lincoln. 

Colonel  J.  W.  Forney  relates  a  characteristic  incident  of 
Mr.  Lincoln's  generosity  to  an  adversary.  He  says  that 
one  afternoon  in  February  or  March  of  1865,  he  was  startled 
by  a  visit  from  his  old  friend  Washington  McLean  of  the 
Cincinnati  "Inquirer."  "I  have  called,"  Mr.  McLean 
said,  "  to  ask  you  to  do  me  a  favor  I  shall  never  forget, 
and  you  must  do  it.  I  will  not  take  no  for  an  answer. 
You,  and  you  alone  can  serve  me." 

"Well,  old  friend,"  said  Colonel  Forney,  "you  know  I  will 
serve  you  if  I  can ;  what  is  it?"  "  Now  don't  be  alarmed 
when  I  tell  you  that  Roger  A.  Pryor  is  in  Fort  Lafayette, 
having  been  captured  within  our  lines,  and  that  I  want 
you  to  get  him  out." 

"Roger  A.  Pryor,  of  Petersburg;  Roger  A.  Pryor, 
who  fired  on  Sumter;  Roger  A.  Prior,  the  hot-spur  of 
Congress  ? " 

"  Yes,  and  your  old  coadjutor  of  the  Washington  Union 
when  you  were  both  Democrats  together.  He  went  into 
the  Rebellion,  is  now  a  prisoner,  and  I  appeal  to  you  to 
go  with  me  to  the  President  and  ask  his  release."  As 
there  was  no  denying  his  impetuous  friend,  Colonel  For- 
ney got  into  his  carriage  and  they  were  soon  at  the  White 
House.  Mr.  McLean  was  introduced  and  it  was  soon 
found  that  Mr.  Lincoln  knew  all  about  him  and  his  paper. 
He  told  his  story,  which  was  patiently  heard.  Colonel 


Forney  followed  with  a  statement  of  his  former  relations 
with  Mr.  Pryor,  and  said  that  he  thought  an  act  of  liber- 
ality to  such  a  man,  and  on  a  request  from  a  frank  polit- 
ical opponent  like  Washington  McLean  would  be  worthy 
of  the  head  of  a  great  nation. 

"Let  me  see,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln,  as  he  fixed  his  spec- 
tacles and  turned  to  a  little  drawer  in  the  desk  behind 
him,  "  I  think  I  have  a  memorandum  here  that  refers  to 
some  good  thing  done  by  General  Pryor  to  a  party  of  our 
Pennsylvania  boys  who  were  taken  prisoners  in  an  attack 
upon  the  Petersburg  fortifications."  And  with  that  he 
took  out  from  a  small  package  a  statement  signed  by  the 
men  who  had  enjoyed  the  hospitality  of  General  Pryor  on 
the  occasion  referred  to. 

He  had,  it  appears,  given  them  food  from  his  larder 
at  a  time  when  his  own  family  were  in  a  most  desperate 
condition  for  provisions.  "The  man  who  can  do  such 
kindness  to  an  enemy,"  said  the  President,  "  cannot  be 
cruel  and  revengeful ;  "  then  he  wrote  some  lines  on  a  card 
which  he  handed  to  Mr.  McLean  with  the  remark :  "  I  think 
that  will  do  ;  at  any  rate  it  is  all  that  I  can  give  you,"  and 
they  took  their  leave.  Going  down  stairs  they  looked  with 
amazement  at  the  writing  on  the  card,  which  read  thus : 
"To  Colonel  Burke,  Commanding  at  Fort  Lafayette, 
New  York.  Please  release  General  Roger  A.  Pryor, 
who  will  report  to  Colonel  Forney  on  Capitol  Hill.  A. 
Lincoln."  "  Report  to  Colonel  Forney !  "  Colonel  Forney 
who  was  "bubbling  over  with  resentment  against  the 
Southern  leaders  who  had  hindered  his  advancement  when 


Buchanan  was  elected  President."  But  there  was  no 
changing  the  order,  so  Mr.  McLean  dashed  off  in  the  next 
train  to  New  York,  the  happiest  Democrat  in  the  United 
States,  and  two  days  after  he  walked  into  Colonel  For- 
ney's office  with  the  "  prisoner."  General  Pryor  took  the 
upper  rooms  of  Colonel  Forney's  lodgings  and  was  his 
guest  for  more  than  a  week,  "  during  which  time  he  was 
visited  by  all  the  chivalry,  male  and  female,  of  the  vicinage." 
The  President  enjoyed  the  fact  that  Colonel  Forney  had 
such  good  company,  andThaddeus  Stephens,  his  neighbor, 
habitually  accosted  him  in  the  morning  with  the  grim  sal- 
ute :  "  How 's  your  Democratic  friend  and  brother  this 
morning  ? "  Colonel  Forney  had  to  admit  that  a  more 
courteous  gentleman  he  had  never  met  than  General  Pryor, 
and  did  him  the  justice  to  say  that  he  expressed  the  most 
fervent  gratitude  to  Mr.  Lincoln  for  his  kindness. 



IN  November,  1861,  the  public  mind  was  wildly  agi- 
tated by  an  episode  of  the  war,  which,  although 
without  military  significance,  at  one  time  threatened  to 
predetermine  the  final  issue  of  the  contest  in  favor  of 
the  independence  of  the  Southern  States,  by  the  acces- 
sion of  a  powerful  ally  and  auxiliary  to  their  cause.  It 
not  only  seriously  imperilled  our  existing  relations  of 
peace  and  amity  with  a  foreign  power,  but  came  near 
converting  its  declared  neutrality  into  an  active  sympathy 
and  co-operation  with  the  Confederacy.  This  incident, 
commonly  known  as  the  "Trent"  affair,  originated  in 
the  unauthorized  and  illegal  arrest  of  the  Confederate 
Commissioners,  Messrs.  Mason  and  Slidell,  with  their 
secretaries,  on  board  a  British  mail  packet,  by  Capt. 
Charles  Wilkes  of  the  United  States  Navy,  and  their 
forcible  transfer  from  the  protection  of  the  British  flag  to 
the  frigate  "  San  Jacinto,"  under  Wilkes's  command. 

This  arbitrary  proceeding,  wholly  unauthorized  by  the 
government  and  in  flagrant  violation  of  every  principle 
of  public  law,  was  received  with  a  universal  outburst  of 
joy  and  exultation  throughout  the  entire  country.  The 
Confederates  saw  in  this  wanton  aggression  and  outrage 


the  realization  of  their  cherished  hopes  of  an  imbroglio 
—  possibly  of  a  war  —  between  England  and  the  United 
States.  The  satisfaction  evinced  in  the  Northern  States 
seemed  less  comprehensible,  as  the  first  outgoing  block- 
ade-runner could  easily  have  supplied  substitutes  for  the 
captured  and  imprisoned  Commissioners.  Yet  for  this 
act,  which  was  acclaimed  and  sanctioned  by  a  verdict  of 
popular  approval,  indorsed  by  a  special  resolution  of 
thanks  in  the  National  Legislature,  Captain  Wilkes  was 
commended  and  congratulated  in  a  letter  from  the  chief 
of  his  Department.  In  fact,  every  one  seemed  to  vie 
with  every  one  else  in  weaving  a  civic  chaplet  to  the 
commander  of  the  "  San  Jacinto  "  for  his  lawless  deed. 

Amidst  the  wild  excitement  created  by  this  inter- 
national interlude,  the  President  alone  maintained  an 
imperturbable  calmness  and  composure.  From  the  very 
first  moment  he  regarded  the  capture  of  the  Commis- 
sioners as  unwise  and  inexpedient.  He  was  heard  to  say 
repeatedly  that  it  would  lead  to  dangerous  compli- 
cations with  England.  "Unfortunately,"  said  he,  "we 
have  played  into  the  hands  of  that  wily  power,  and 
placed  in  their  grasp  a  whip  with  which  to  scourge  us." 
He  went  on  to  say  further  that  the  "  Trent "  affair  had 
occurred  at  the  most  inopportune  and  critical  period  of 
the  war,  and  would  greatly  tend  to  its  prolongation  by 
creating  a  genuine  bond  of  sympathy  between  England 
and  the  insurgent  States. 

When  interrogated,  on  one  occasion,  as  to  whether  it 
was  not  a  great  humiliation  to  him  to  surrender  the 


captured  Commissioners  on  the  peremptory  demand  of 
John  Bull,  Mr.  Lincoln  replied,  "Yes,  it  was  the  bit- 
terest pill  I  have  ever  swallowed.  There  is,  however, 
this  counterbalancing  consideration,  that  England's 
triumph  will  not  have  a  long  tenure  of  life.  After  our 
war  is  over,  I  trust  and  believe  successfully  to  ourselves, 
we  shall  be  powerful  enough  to  call  her  to  an  account 
and  settlement  for  the  embarrassment  and  damage  she 
has  inflicted  upon  us  in  our  hour  of  trouble ;  and  this 
reminds  me  of  a  story  which  I  think  aptly  illustrates  the 
condition  of  things  existing  between  their  government 
and  ours."  He  then  related  the  following  anecdote  : 

A  sick  man  in  Illinois,  the  hope  of  whose  recovery 
was  far  from  encouraging,  was  admonished  by  his  friends 
present  that  as  probably  he  had  not  many  hours  to  live 
he  should  bear  malice  to  none,  and  before  closing  his 
earthly  account  should  make  peace  with  all  his  enemies. 
Turning  his  face  to  the  wall  and  drawing  a  long  sigh,  the 
invalid  was  lost  for  a  few  moments  in  deep  reflection. 
Giving  utterance  to  a  deep  groan  as  he  mentally  enu- 
merated the  long  catalogue  of  enmities  incurred,  which 
would  render  the  exertion  of  peace-making  a  somewhat 
prolonged  one,  he  admitted  in  a  feeble  voice  that  he 
undoubtedly  believed  this  to  be  the  best  course,  and 
added  :  "  The  man  whom  I  hate  most  cordially  of  all  is 
Bill  Johnson,  and  so  I  guess  I  '11  begin  with  him." 
Johnson  was  summoned,  and  at  once  repaired  to  the 
bedside  of  his  repentant  friend.  The  latter  extended  to 
him  his  hand,  saying  with  a  meekness  that  would  have 


done  honor  to  Moses,  that  he  wanted  to  die  at  peace 
with  all  the  world,  and  to  bury  all  his  past  enmity.  Bill, 
who  was  much  inclined  to  the  melting  mood,  here  burst 
into  tears,  making  free  use  of  his  bandanna,  and  warmly 
returning  the  pressure  of  the  dying  man's  hand,  solemnly 
and  impressively  assured  him  of  his  forgiveness.  As  the 
now  reconciled  friends  were  about  to  separate,  in  the 
expectation  of  never  again  seeing  each  other  on  earth, 
"  Stop,"  exclaimed  the  penitent  invalid  to  his  departing 
visitor,  who  had  now  reached  the  door ;  "the  account  is 
now  square  between  us,  Bill  Johnson ;  but,  see  here,  if 
I  should  happen  to  get  well,  that  old  grudge  stands  ! " 

In  December,  about  one  month  after  the  arrest  of  the 
Confederate  Commissioners,  when  Mr.  Lincoln  and  his 
Cabinet  were  in  a  state  of  alarm,  fearing  a  war  with 
England,  Mr.  Chase  one  day  came  to  the  President  and 
told  him  that  Mr.  Stanton,  who  had  been  attorney- 
general  under  Buchanan,  had  talked  with  him  on  the 
subject  of  this  trouble  with  Great  Britain,  and  had 
expressed  the  opinion  that  the  action  of  the  American 
government  in  arresting  Mason  and  Slidell  was  legal  and 
could  be  sustained  by  international  law.  The  President 
told  Mr.  Chase  that  Stanton  did  not  like  him,  and  had 
treated  him  rudely  on  one  occasion ;  but  that  if  Mr. 
Chase  thought  Stanton  would  meet  him,  he  would  be 
glad  to  have  him  do  so  and  give  his  views  on  the  subject. 
In  an  hour  Mr.  Chase  had  Stanton  in  Mr.  Lincoln's 
presence.  Mr.  Lincoln  expressed  his  gratification  at 
hearing  of  Mr.  Stanton's  views,  and  asked  him  to  repeat 


them.  When  Mr.  Stanton  had  finished  the  discussion  of 
the  case,  and  of  the  laws  bearing  thereon,  Mr.  Lincoln 
expressed  his  thanks,  and  asked  Stanton  to  put  his 
opinion  in  writing,  which  he  promised  to  do  by  ten 
o'clock  the  next  morning.  The  opinion  was  brought  at 
the  appointed  time.  Mr.  Lincoln  read  it  and  filed  it, 
and  then  said :  "  Mr.  Stanton,  this  is  a  time  of  war, 
and  you  are  as  much  interested  in  sustaining  the  govern- 
ment as  myself  or  any  other  man.  This  is  no  time  to 
consider  mere  party  issues.  The  life  of  the  nation  is  in 
danger.  I  need  the  best  counsellors  around  me.  I 
have  every  confidence  in  your  judgment,  and  have  con- 
cluded to  ask  you  to  become  one  of  my  counsellors. 
The  office  of  the  Secretary  of  War  will  be  vacant,  and  I 
want  you  to  accept  the  position.  Will  you  do  it  ?  " 

Stanton  was  amazed,  and  said  :  "  Why,  Mr.  President, 
you  take  me  by  surprise  !  This  is  an  embarrassing  ques- 
tion, but  if  you  will  give  me  a  day  or  two  to  consider,  I 
will  give  you  an  answer."  Two  days  later  he  called  on 
the  President  and  signified  his  intention  to  accept.  On 
the  15  th  day  of  January,  1862,  the  portfolio  of  Secre- 
tary of  War  was  placed  in  his  hands.* 

*  DENVER,  COL.,  May  23,  1885. 
Hon.  Wm.  A.  Wheeler,  Malone,  N.  Y. 

MY  DEAR  SIR,  —  A  few  days  since  I  had  the  pleasure  of  read- 
ing your  "Recollections  of  Lincoln"  from  the  Malone  (N.  Y.) 
"  Palladium,"  in  which  you  say :  "  At  the  extra  session  of  Congress 
in  July,  1861,  a  law  was  passed  authorizing  the  appointment  of 
additional  paymasters  for  the  Army;  "  that  the  President  assented 
to  your  request  that  your  life-long  friend,  Major  Sabin,  should  be 
one  of  the  appointees;  that,  in  September  following,  Mr.  Lincoln 


The  appointment  of  Mr.   Stanton  in  Mr.   Lincoln's 
Cabinet   was  a  great  surprise   to   the  country.     Those 

wrote  you  saying  he  had  sent  the  appointment  of  Mr.  Sabin  to  the 
Secretary  of  War,  who  would  notify  him  to  appear  for  muster  into 
the  Service.  October  passed,  and  no  notice  came.  Then,  you 
say,  a  letter  written  to  "  Secretary  Stanton"  failed  to  bring  a 
response;  that  the  latter  part  of  November  you  went  to  Washing- 
ton to  attend  the  regular  session  of  Congress,  taking  Mr.  Sabin 
with  you.  You  then  say :  "  The  day  after  my  arrival  I  waited 
upon  Secretary  Stanton,"  etc. ;  you  then  detail  the  conversation 
had  with  Mr.  Lincoln,  and  the  fact  of  his  making  a  somewhat 
imperative  order  to  the  Secretary  to  make  the  appointment  "at 
once."  You  say,  "  I  called  on  Mr.  Stanton  the  next  morning,  who 
on  its  [the  letter's  or  order's]  presentation  was  simply  furious." 
And  after  this  you  speak  of  what  was  said  and  done  by  "'Mr. 
Stanton,  the  Secretary  of  War." 

Allow  me,  my  dear  sir,  to  assure  you  that  I  now  entertain,  and 
always  have  entertained,  for  you  the  most  profound  respect,  and 
to  express  my  sincere  regret  that  you  were  not  President  instead 
of  Vice-President  of  the  United  States.  I  therefore  venture  to  hope 
that  you  will  pardon  me  for  saying  that  I  am  unable  to  recon- 
cile the  statements  purporting  to  be  made  by  you,  alluded  to  above, 
with  the  historical  fact  that  Mr.  Stanton  was  not  appointed  Secre- 
tary of  War  until  in  January  the  year  following,  —  namely,  1862. 
It  occurs  to  me  that  there  must  be  a  mistake  made  in  your  paper, 
either  of  dates  or  of  the  name  of  the  Secretary  of  War.  I  am 
certain  this  irreconcilable  statement  was  not  made  by  you  as 
was  the  blunder  made  by  Sir  Walter  Scott  in  his  "  Ivanhoe " 
(chap.  i.).  "The  date  of  this  story,"  as  he  says,  "refers  to  a 
period  towards  the  end  of  the  reign  of  Richard  I."  Richard  died 
in  1199;  nevertheless,  Sir  Walter  makes  the  disguised  Wamba 
style  himself  "  a  poor  brother  of  the  Order  of  St.  Francis," 
although  the  Order  of  St.  Francis  was  not  founded  until  1210,  and 
of  course  the  saintship  of  the  founder  had  still  a  later  date. 

If  my  recollection  serves  me  correctly,  Mr.  Stanton,  whose 
memory  is  now  cherished  by  the  great  mass  of  the  Republican 
party,  at  the  dates  you  speak  of  and  refer  to  was  regarded  as  a 
Bourbon  of  the  strictest  sect.  Up  to  the  time  of  the  capture 
of  the  "  Trent,"  with  Mason  and  Slidell  aboard,  on  the  8th  of 
November,  1861,  if  Mr.  Stanton  had  conceived  any  "  change  of 


who  were  acquainted  with  the  relations  existing  between 
these  two  men  when  they  were  both  practising  lawyers 

heart"  and  cessation  of  hostility  to  the  never 
was  publicly  manifested.  It  was  something  over  a  month  after 
this  capture  that  he  was  consulted  by  Mr.  Lincoln,  at  the  sugges- 
tion of  Secretary  Chase,  as  an  international  lawyer  concerning  the 
legality  of  the  capture  and  arrest  of  Messrs.  Mason  and  Slidell, 
which  was  the  first  interview  that  was  had  between  Mr.  Lincoln 
and  Mr.  Stanton  since  the  commencement  of  the  Administration. 
This  interview  led  to  Mr.  Stanton's  appointment  as  Secretary  of 
War.  Mr.  Lincoln  had  occasion  for  regret  about  the  "Trent" 
capture,  but  never  for  the  capture  of  Mr.  Stanton. 

The  immortal  Shakespeare,  like  yourself  and  others,  sometimes 
got  his  dates  confused ;  for  instance,  in  his  "  Coriolanus,"  he  says 
of  C.  Marcius,  "  Thou  wast  a  soldier  even  to  Cato's  will,"  when  in 
fact  Marcius  Coriolanus  was  banished  from  Rome  and  died  over 
two  hundred  years  before  Cato  was  born.  Again,  his  reference  in 
the  same  play,  of  Marcius  sitting  in  state  like  Alexander:  the 
latter  was  not  born  for  a  hundred  and  fifty  years  after  Coriolanus's 
death.  He  also  says  in  "Julius  Caesar,"  "The  clock  strikes 
three,"  when  in  truth  and  in  fact  there  were  no  striking  clocks 
until  more  than  eight  hundred  years  after  the  death  of  Caesar. 
Another  inaccuracy  is  to  be  found  in  "  King  Lear  "  in  regard  to 
spectacles.  Spectacles  were  not  worn  until  the  thirteenth  century. 
And  still  another  in  this  immortal  writer's  statements  in  his  play 
of  "Macbeth,"  where  he  speaks  of  cannon:  cannon  were  not 
invented  until  1346,  and  Macbeth  was  killed  in  1054. 

You  will  pardon  me  these  citations,  for  they  are  made  in  a 
spirit  of  playful  illustration,  to  show  how  great  minds  often 
become  confused  about  dates. 

"  What  you  have  said 
I  have  considered ;  what  you  have  to  say 
I  will  with  patience  wait  to  hear." 

I  read  your  "  Recollections  of  Lincoln  "  with  great  interest,  as  I 
do  everything  I  see  written  about  that  most  wonderful,  interesting, 
and  unique  of  all  of  our  public  men.  I  sincerely  hope  you  will 
receive  this  in  the  same  kindly  spirit  that  it  is  written,  prompted 
as  it  is  by  a  curiosity  to  know  how  this  variance  about  Mr. 
Stanton's  official  status  during  the  first  year  of  Mr.  Lincoln's 


were  not  only  astonished  at  this  appointment,  but  were 
apprehensive  that  there  could  not  possibly  be  harmony 

Administration  can  be  reconciled.    I  will  regard  it  as  an  esteemed 
favor  if  you  will  drop  me  a  line  explaining  it. 

Your  interesting  and  graphic  description  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  pardon 
of  the  soldier  convicted  and  condemned  for  sleeping  at  his  post 
interested  me  very  much.  I  have  a  curiosity  to  know  whether 
this  soldier's  name  was  not  William  Scott  ?  If  Scott  was  his 
name,  I  have  a  reason  to  believe  he  was  the  person  whom  Francis 
De  Haes  Janvier  immortalized  in  verse. 

I  have  the  honor  to  be,  very  sincerely, 

Your  humble  servant, 


MALONE,  N.  Y.,  June  2,  1885. 
Ward  H.  Lamon,  Denver,  Col, 

MY  DEAR  SIR,  —  I  thank  you  most  sincerely  for  your  letter  of 
the  23d  ultimo,  and  for  the  friendly  feeling  you  evince  for  me. 

I  am  simply  mortified  at  my  gross  blunder,  and  can  only  plead 
in  mitigation  the  lapse  of  more  than  twenty  years  since  the  affairs 
alluded  to  transpired,  in  which  time,  aside  from  having  performed 
a  large  amount  of  hard  public  and  private  work,  I  have  experienced 
an  amount  of  trouble  exceptional  to  ordinary  men,  having  buried 
everyone  near  tome,  —  father,  mother,  brothers,  and  sisters.  I 
have  no  one  left  of  nearer  kin  to  me  than  cousins,  and  no  one  to 
care  for  my  house  except  servants.  For  the  last  three  years  I 
have  been  an  invalid,  confined  to  my  house  and  for  a  considerable 
portion  of  the  time  to  my  bed:  what  wonder  that  "the  warder  of 
the  brain  "  should  be  sometimes  at  fault !  The  mistake  must  be  one 
of  time,  for  the  actors  in  the  transaction  are  too  vividly  impressed 
upon  my  memory  ever  to  be  forgotten  until  that  faculty  is  wholly 

I  may  be  mistaken  in  the  fact  that  Sabin  accompanied  me  when 
I  went  on  for  the  regular  session  in  December,  1861  ;  but  so  sure 
was  I  of  it  that  before  your  letter  I  would  have  sworn  to  it.  You 
have  furnished  me  with  a  needed  caution.  It  is  unpleasant  to  find 
out  that  years  are  telling  upon  us,  but  it  is  healthful  nevertheless. 
And  so  I  may  be  mistaken  as  to  the  time  intervening  between  the 
successive  stages  of  the  appointment.  Sabin  is  somewhere  in  the 


of  action  and  co-operation  between  them.  There  were 
perhaps  seldom,  if  ever,  two  really  great  men  who  were 
as  unlike  in  all  respects  as  Mr.  Lincoln  and  Mr.  Stanton. 
They  were  dissimilar  in  their  habits  of  life,  disposition, 
taste,  in  fact  in  every  particular  of  the  general  make-up 
of  man.  But  Mr.  Lincoln  fully  appreciated  Mr.  Stan- 
ton's  great  ability,  both  as  a  lawyer  and  as  a  Cabinet 
counsellor  under  Mr.  Buchanan.  The  President  needed 
the  ablest  counsel  he  could  obtain,  and  allowed  no  per- 
sonal consideration  to  influence  him  in  selecting  the 
right  man  for  the  service. 

West,  and  I  will  endeavor  to  find  his  whereabouts  and  get  his 
statement  of  the  facts.  Brevet  Brig.-Genl.  Chauncey  McKeever, 
now  Assistant  Adjutant-General  of  the  Army,  was  at  the  time  in 
Stanton's  office  in  a  confidential  capacity,  and  I  think  will  remem- 
ber the  transaction. 

I  do  not  remember  the  name  of  the  pardoned  soldier.  One  of 
Kellogg's  sons  lives  in  the  southern  part  of  the  State ;  I  will 
endeavor  to  get  the  name,  and  if  successful  will  write  you. 

Now,  my  dear  sir,  mortified  as  I  am,  I  feel  almost  compensated 
in  having  drawn  from  you  such  an  admirable  collection  of  ana- 
chronisms of  famous  literary  men  of  the  world.  I  am  greatly 
interested  in  it,  and  shall  take  the  liberty  of  showing  it  to  my  lite- 
rary friends.  In  your  readings  have  you  ever  encountered  the 
"  Deathless  City,"  a  beautiful  poem  written  by  Elizabeth  A.  Allen  ? 
I  never  saw  but  this  single  production  from  her  pen.  Who  was 
or  is  she,  and  did  she  write  other  things  ? 

My  memories  of  Mr.  Lincoln  are  a  source  of  great  pleasure  to 
me.  Many  of  them  recall  illustrations  just  a  little  "  off  color." 

If  you  ever  come  east,  I  wish  you  would  come  across  northern 
New  York  and  drop  in  upon  me.  I  should  greatly  delight  to  live 
over  the  days  of  the  war  with  you. 

Again  thanking  you  for  your  letter,  and  fully  reciprocating  your 
good-will,  I  am 

Very  cordially  yours, 



In  order  to  make  the  history  of  this  appointment  com- 
plete in  its  personal  element,  it  will  be  necessary  to  go 
back  to  the  year  1858,  when  Abraham  Lincoln  was 
practising  law  in  Springfield,  Illinois,  and  Edwin  M. 
Stanton  was  at  the  head  of  his  profession  in  Cincinnati. 
The  celebrated  McCormick  Reaper  and  Mower  case 
was  before  the  United  States  Court  in  Cincinnati.  Mr. 
Stanton  had  been  retained  as  counsel-in-chief  on  one  side 
of  the  case,  and  to  be  associated  with  him  were  T.  D. 
Lincoln  of  Cincinnati,  and  Abraham  Lincoln  of  Illinois. 
When  Mr.  Lincoln  arrived  in  Cincinnati  to  attend  the 
trial,  he  called  upon  Mr.  Stanton,  who  treated  him  in  so 
impolite  and  rude  a  manner  that  he  went  to  his  client  and 
informed  him  that  he  should  have  to  withdraw  as  his 
counsel  in  the  case  and  stated  his  reasons  therefor.  Mr. 
Lincoln  was  entreated  to  remain  in  the  case,  and  Mr. 
Stanton  was  seen  and  was  talked  to  about  the  matter. 
Mr.  Lincoln  happened  to  be  in  a  room  adjoining  where 
this  conversation  occurred,  and  overheard  Mr.  Stanton 
say  that  he  would  not  associate  with  such  a  d — — ,  gawky, 
long-armed  ape  as  that ;  if  he  could  not  have  a  man  who 
was  a  gentleman  in  appearance  associated  with  him  in 
the  case,  he  would  himself  abandon  it.  When  the  client 
returned,  Mr.  Lincoln  refunded  to  him  the  five-hundred 
dollar  retainer  fee,  peremptorily  declining  to  keep  it.  He 
then  returned  to  Urbana,  Illinois,  where  court  was  in 
session,  and,  to  explain  his  unexpected  return,  related 
the  fact  and  his  mortification  to  his  associate  members 


of  the  bar.  After  this  event,  Mr.  Lincoln  never  met 
Mr.  Stanton  until  the  "  Trent "  affair  brought  them 
together ;  yet  it  is  certain  that  Mr.  Lincoln  never  forgot 
the  gratuitous  insult  then  cast  upon  him. 

To  this  day  there  is  a  settled  belief  that  at  this  time 
the  Administration  councils  manifested  a  lack  of  hearty 
co-operation  and  unity  of  purpose  and  sentiment.  This 
is  a  mistake,  for  throughout  Mr.  Lincoln's  Administration 
as  much  harmony  as  could  reasonably  be  expected  ex- 
isted between  him  and  his  Cabinet  ministers.  Differ- 
ences arose  between  them  at  times  in  regard  to  minor 
considerations  of  policy,  but  never  to  the  extent  that  the 
differences  were  not  eventually  harmonized,  compro- 
mised, or  accommodated.  To  be  sure,  many  things 
occurred  during  the  fearful  war-struggle  about  which  he 
and  his  Cabinet  differed  in  their  estimates  and  conclu- 
sions, and  Mr.  Lincoln  thereby  was  often  disappointed 
and  grieved.  As  one  instance  of  his  disappointment, 
may  be  mentioned  his  abandonment  of  a  message  to 
Congress  in  deference  to  the  opinion  and  counsel  of  his 
advisers.  This  occurred  directly  after  his  return  from 
the  conference  he  and  Mr.  Seward  had  with  Messrs. 
Stephens,  Campbell,  and  Hunter  at  City  Point  on  the 
James  River. 

Notwithstanding  his  hatred  of  the  institution  of  slavery, 
Mr.  Lincoln  believed  that  the  holder  of  slaves  had  a 
right  of  property  in  them  which  the  government  had  no 
right,  legally  or  morally,  to  interfere  with  in  the  States 
unless  forced  thereto  by  the  necessities  of  war.  He 


gladly  approved  the  action  of  Congress  in  providing  for 
the  payment  of  compensation  for  the  slaves  liberated  in 
the  District  of  Columbia.  The  message  above  referred 
to  recommended  an  appropriation  of  three  hundred 
million  dollars  to  be  apportioned  among  the  several 
slave  States,  in  proportion  to  slave  population,  as  com- 
pensation to  the  owners  of  liberated  slaves  in  the  insur- 
gent States,  with  the  condition  that  the  insurgents  should 
lay  down  their  arms,  disband  their  troops,  and  return 
and  renew  their  allegiance  to  the  United  States  govern- 
ment. Mr.  Seward  at  this  time  was  not  present,  being 
confined  to  bed  by  injuries  he  had  received  by  being 
thrown  from  his  carriage.  All  the  other  members  of  the 
Cabinet  were  present,  every  one  of  whom  opposed  the 
message.  Lincoln  then  asked :  "  How  long  will  this 
war  last?"  No  reply  came.  He  then  answered  his 
own  question,  saying :  "  It  will  doubtless  last  one  hun- 
dred days  longer ;  we  are  now  spending  three  million 
dollars  a  day,  which  rate  will  aggregate  the  amount  I 
propose  to  appropriate  in  order  to  put  an  end  to  this  ter- 
rible blood-shedding."  Then  with  a  deep  sigh  he  said, 
"  Since  you  are  all  opposed  to  me  I  will  not  send  this 
message,"  and  turning  round  he  placed  the  paper  in  his 
drawer.  It  is  rather  a  curious  coincidence  that  the  war 
did  last  just  about  a  hundred  days  after  Lincoln's  re- 
markable interview  with  his  Cabinet  on  this  subject. 

There  is  also  a  prevailing  opinion  that  the  Secretary 
of  War  (Stanton)  at  times  arbitrarily  refused  to  obey  or 
carry  out  Mr.  Lincoln's  orders.  This  is  also  not  true. 


This  opinion  is  largely  based  upon  Mr.  Stanton's  refusal  of 
permits  to  persons  desirous  of  going  through  the  lines  into 
insurgent  districts.  The  persons  who  were  disobliged  in 
this  respect  were  very  severe  in  their  comments  on  Mr. 
Stanton's  course,  which  they  considered  harsh,  disoblig- 
ing, and  sometimes  cruel.  On  refusal  of  Mr.  Stanton  to 
accommodate  in  many  such  cases,  Mr.  Lincoln  was 
appealed  to,  and  his  invariable  reply  was :  "  I  cannot 
always  know  whether  a  permit  ought  to  be  granted,  and 
I  want  to  oblige  everybody  when  I  can;  and  Stanton 
and  I  have  an  understanding  that  if  I  send  an  order  to 
him  which  cannot  be  consistently  granted,  he  is  to  re- 
fuse it.  This  he  sometimes  does."  This  state  of  things 
caused  him  to  say  to  a  man  who  complained  of  Stanton, 
"  I  have  not  much  influence  with  this  Administration, 
but  I  expect  to  have  more  with  the  next." 

Not  long  before  the  death  of  Mr.  Lincoln,  Mr.  Stan- 
ton  tendered  his  resignation  as  Secretary  of  War.  His 
letter  of  resignation  was  couched  in  the  kindest  language, 
paying  a  heartfelt  tribute  to  Mr.  Lincoln's  uniform  and 
constant  friendship,  and  his  faithful  devotion  to  the 
country.  It  stated  that  the  writer  had  accepted  the 
position  of  Secretary  of  War  for  the  purpose  of  holding 
it  only  till  the  war  should  end,  and  that  now  he  felt  that 
his  work  was  completed,  and  that  it  was  his  duty  to 
resign.  Mr.  Lincoln  was  greatly  moved  by  the  tone  of 
the  letter,  and  said :  "  Mr.  Stanton,  you  have  been  a 
faithful  public  officer,  and  it  is  not  for  you  to  say  when 
you  will  be  no  longer  needed  here."  At  the  President's 


earnest  solicitation,  the  letter  of  resignation  was  with- 
drawn, and  Mr.  Stanton  continued  to  occupy  the  War 
Office  until  after  Mr.  Lincoln's  death. 

When  Mr.  Lincoln  submitted  his  Proclamation  of 
Emancipation  for  the  consideration  of  the  Cabinet,  he 
had  not  conferred  with  any  one  about  the  phraseology 
of  the  instrument.  He  read  the  document  through, 
without  a  single  interruption  or  comment.  They  all 
concurred  in  opinion  that  it  was  an  admirable  paper. 
Mr.  Chase  then  said  :  "  Mr.  President,  you  have  invoked 
the  considerate  judgment  of  mankind,  but  you  have 
not  invoked  the  blessing  of  Almighty  God  on  your  action 
in  this  matter.  I  believe  He  has  something  to  do 
with  this  question."  Mr.  Lincoln  then  said  :  "  You  are 
right,  Mr.  Secretary.  I  most  humbly  thank  you  for  that 
suggestion;  it  was  an  oversight  of  mine.  Do  me  the 
favor  of  taking  a  pen  and  paper  and  adding  what  you 
would  have  in  conclusion."  Mr.  Chase  wrote  seven 
words,  —  namely,  "  and  the  gracious  favor  of  Almighty 
God."  Mr.  Lincoln  then  added  them  to  the  end  of  the 
last  paragraph,  which  made  it  read  as  follows :  "  And 
upon  this  act,  sincerely  believed  to  be  an  act  of  justice, 
warranted  by  the  Constitution  upon  military  necessity,  I 
invoke  the  considerate  judgment  of  mankind  and  the 
gracious  favor  of  Almighty  God."  n 

In  referring  to  the  differences  of  opinion  entertained 
between  Mr.  Lincoln  and  the  members  of  his  Cabinet, 
it  will  be  observed  that  in  the  matter  of  reconstruction 
of  the  State  governments  his  policy  was,  according  to 


his  proclamation,  that  the  persons  who  were  authorized 
to  re-establish  such  governments  were  to  be  "  the  quali- 
fied voters  of  the  respective  States  before  the  acts  of 
secession."  Mr.  Chase  alone  of  all  the  Cabinet  objected 
to  this  clause  of  the  proclamation,  and  insisted  that  it 
should  be  changed  so  as  to  read,  instead  of  "  qualified 
voters,"  "  citizens  of  the  State."  But  the  Attorney- 
General  in  the  year  1862  had  given  an  opinion  that  the 
colored  men  born  in  the  United  States  were  citizens  of 
the  United  States ;  and  if  the  phrase  "  one-tenth  of  the 
qualified  voters  required  to  re-organize  "  were  changed 
to  "  one-tenth  of  the  citizens,"  the  organization  might 
have  been  legally  composed  entirely  of  colored  men. 
Mr.  Lincoln  was  set  in  his  purpose  that  the  restored 
governments  in  the  seceded  States  should  be  organized 
by  the  "qualified  voters"  of  those  States  before  secession 
was  attempted,  and  Mr.  Chase  had  to  submit  to  the 

The  great  caution  with  which  Mr.  Lincoln  approached 
the  important  subject  of  elective  franchise  may  be 
shown  in  his  letter  to  Governor  Hahn :  — 


WASHINGTON,  March  13,  1864. 
Hon.  Michael  Hahn  : 

MY  DEAR  SIR,  —  I  congratulate  you  on  having  fixed  your 
name  in  history  as  the  first  free-state  Governor  of  Louisiana. 
Now,  you  are  about  to  have  a  convention,  which  among 
other  things  will  probably  define  the  elective  franchise.  I 
barely  suggest  for  your  private  consideration,  whether  some 



of  the  colored  people  may  not  be  let  in,  —  as,  for  instance, 
the  very  intelligent,  and  especially  those  who  have  fought 
gallantly  in  our  ranks.  They  would  probably  help,  in  some 
trying  time  to  come,  to  keep  the  jewel  of  liberty  within  the 
family  of  freedom.  But  this  is  only  a  suggestion,  —  not  to 
the  public,  but  to  you  alone. 

Yours  truly, 
(Signed)  A.  LINCOLN. 

This  would  seem  to  show  conclusively  that  Mr.  Lin- 
coln did  not  intend  to  force  negro  suffrage  upon  the 
people  in  the  rebel  States.  Doubtless,  he  desired  that 
the  negroes  should  have  the  right  of  suffrage,  but  he 
expected  and  hoped  that  the  people  would  confer  the 
right  of  their  own  will.  He  knew  that  if  this  right  were 
forced  upon  them,  it  could  not  or  would  not  be  exer- 
cised in  peace.  He  realized  in  advance  that  the  ex- 
periment of  legislative  equality  was  one  fraught  with 
difficulties  and  dangers,  not  only  to  the  well-being  of  the 
negro,  but  to  the  peace  of  society.  "While  I  am," 
said  he,  "in  favor  of  freedom  to  all  of  God's  human 
creatures,  with  equal  political  rights  under  prudential 
restrictions,  I  am  not  in  favor  of  unlimited  social  equal- 
ity. There  are  questions  arising  out  of  our  complica- 
tions that  trouble  me  greatly.  The  question  of  universal 
suffrage  to  the  freedman  in  his  unprepared  state  is  one 
of  doubtful  propriety.  I  do  not  oppose  the  justice  of 
the  measure ;  but  I  do  think  it  is  of  doubtful  political 
policy,  and  may  rebound  like  a  boomerang  not  only  on 
the  Republican  party,  but  upon  the  freedman  himself 
and  our  common  country." 


As  the  war  approached  its  conclusion,  and  Mr.  Lin- 
coln foresaw  the  inevitable  submission  of  the  insurgents, 
his  mind  did  not  become  less  seriously  affected  by  the 
contemplation  of  the  new  responsibilities  which  would 
devolve  upon  him  as  Chief  Magistrate  of  the  reorganized 
and  reconstructed  nation.  His  second  Inaugural  Ad- 
dress mirrored  his  frame  of  mind  to  a  great  extent.  He 
was  oppressed  with  great  care,  resulting  from  a  con- 
sciousness that  changes  would  occur  in  the  near  future 
which  would  impose  upon  him  new  and  difficult  duties, 
in  which  he  might  possibly  find  himself  in  conflict  not 
only  with  the  men  in  his  own  party  who  already 
persistently  opposed  him,  but  with  many  other  public 
men  who  had  supported  his  Administration  throughout 
the  existence  of  the  war.  There  seemed  to  be  no  settled 
policy  for  the  contemplated  new  state  of  things,  and  few 
men  thought  alike  on  the  subject.  There  were  almost 
as  many  theories  as  there  were  distinguished  men  to 
advance  them.  This  state  of  things  devolved  the 
greater  responsibility  upon  Mr.  Lincoln,  and  he  keenly 
felt  the  weight  of  it. 

Upon  no  occasion,  either  public  or  private,  did  Mr. 
Lincoln  hesitate  to  express  freely  his  views  and  senti- 
ments as  to  the  conditions  under  which  he  would  have 
liked  the  War  of  the  Rebellion  to  terminate.  All  that 
he  desired  was  that  the  enemy  should  cease  fighting, 
lay  down  their  arms,  and  return  to  their  homes,  their 
duties,  and  their  allegiance  to  their  country.  He  har- 
bored no  feeling  of  revenge,  no  thirst  for  the  blood  of 


his  erring  fellow-countrymen,  his  highest  aspiration 
being  peace  and  a  restored  Union.  From  what  he  has 
been  repeatedly  heard  to  declare,  he  would  gladly  have 
spared  to  his  vanquished  foes  the  humiliation  of  a  public 
surrender  if  the  war  could  otherwise  have  been  brought 
to  a  close.  He  fondly  hoped  for  a  condition  of  things 
which  would  render  reconstruction  and  love  of  country 
assured,  fixed,  and  immutable.  In  discussing  the  ques- 
tion of  reconstruction  previous  to  the  surrender  of  Gen- 
eral Lee,  I  have  more  than  once  heard  him  say :  "  We 
cannot  hang  all  these  people,  even  if  they  were  in  our 
power ;  there  are  too  many  of  them.  Think  of  the  con- 
sequences of  such  an  act !  Since  this  government  was 
established,  there  have  been  comparatively  few  trials  or 
executions  for  treason  or  offences  against  the  State. 
This  has  been  eminently  a  government  of  loyal  citizens." 
A  distinguished  gentleman,  an  earnest  advocate  for 
punishment  of  the  rebels,  once  asked  him  what  he  in- 
tended to  do  when  the  moment  arrived  for  him  to  act. 
"Do?"  said  he;  "why,  reconstruct  the  machinery  of 
this  government !  This  is  all  that  I  see  I  can  properly 
do."  The  gentleman,  with  much  asperity,  exclaimed : 
"  Mr.  President,  it  does  appear  to  some  of  your  friends, 
myself  included,  as  if  you  had  taken  final  leave  of  your 
senses !  As  if  it  were  intended  that  treason  should 
henceforth  not  be  regarded  as  odious,  and  the  offenders, 
cut-throats,  and  authors  of  this  war  should  not  only  go 
unpunished,  but  receive  encouragement  to  repeat  their 
outrages  on  the  government  with  impunity !  They 
should  be  hanged  higher  than  Haman,  sir !  " 


Mr.  Lincoln  here  asked  :  "  Mr. ,  suppose,  when 

the  moment  has  arrived,  the  hanging  policy  you  recom- 
mend be  adopted,  —  will  you  agree  to  be  chief  execu- 
tioner? If  so,  let  me  know,  and  I  will  at  once  appoint 
you  a  brigadier-general  and  prospective  public  hangman 
of  the  United  States.  Will  you  serve,  if  so  appointed?  " 

"  Mr.  Lincoln,"  responded  his  interlocutor,  "  I  sup- 
posed you  regarded  me  as  a  gentleman ;  at  least  you 
ought  to  know  better  than  to  ask  me  to  do,  or  believe 
me  capable  of  doing,  such  dirty  work." 

"  You  speak,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln,  interrupting  him,  "  of 
being  a  gentleman.  In  this  free  country  of  ours,  when 
it  comes  to  rights  and  duties,  especially  in  time  of  war, 
the  gentleman  and  the  vagrant  stand  on  exactly  the 
same  plane;  their  rights  are  equal,  their  duties  the 
same.  As  a  law-abiding  citizen,  you  are  no  more 
exempt  from  the  performance  of  what  you  call  'dirty 
work '  than  if  you  were  not  a  gentleman." 

His  visitor  here  arose  abruptly  and  left  the  room  in 
great  indignation,  relieving  himself  of  his  pent-up  wrath 
by  a  torrent  of  oaths  and  imprecations.  He  was  a 
United  States  Senator,  and  I  have  not  at  all  exaggerated 
his  profanity  or  his  deportment  on  the  occasion  here 
narrated.  He  did  not,  indeed,  intermit  his  denuncia- 
tions, which  were,  besides,  embellished  with  the  choicest 
specimens  of  billingsgate,  until  a  casual  rencontre  on  the 
Avenue  with  a  member  of  the  lower  House  afforded  him 
the  solace  of  exclaiming :  "  Lincoln  is  a  damned  idiot ! 
He  has  no  spirit,  and  is  as  weak  as  an  old  woman.  He 


was  never  fitted  for  the  position  he  holds.  After  this 
war  is  over,  it  would  not  at  all  surprise  me  if  he  were  to 
fill  the  public  offices  with  a  horde  of  these  infernal 
rebels,  and  choose  for  his  constitutional  advisers  the  dam- 
nable leaders  of  the  rebellion  themselves."  I  am  not 
aware  that  this  senator  ever  again  visited  the  President. 

After  the  capitulation  of  General  Lee,  what  was  to  be 
done  with  the  leaders  of  the  rebellion  became  a  most 
serious  question.  Persons  who  had  been  throughout 
the  war  the  fiercest  and  most  radical  opponents  of  the 
rebels  (such  men  as  Horace  Greeley  and  others)  became 
suddenly  most  conservative;  and  the  converse  course 
was  pursued  by  many  of  the  most  conservative  persons, 
now  urging  relentless  punishment  of  the  offending 
leaders.  General  Grant  asked  for  special  instructions 
of  Mr.  Lincoln,  — whether  he  should  try  to  capture 
Jefferson  Davis,  or  let  him  escape  from  the  country  if  he 
wanted  to  do  so.  Mr.  Lincoln  replied  by  relating  the 
story  of  an  Irishman  who  had  taken  the  pledge  of  Father 
Matthew,  and  having  become  terribly  thirsty  applied  to 
a  bar-tender  for  a  lemonade ;  and  while  it  was  being 
prepared  he  whispered  to  the  bar-tender,  "  And  could  n't 
you  put  a  little  brandy  in  it  all  unbeknownst  to  myself?  " 
Mr.  Lincoln  told  the  general  he  would  like  to  let  Jeff 
Davis  escape  all  unbeknown  to  himself:  he  had  no  use 
for  him. 

On  the  day  of  the  assassination,  General  Creswell 
came  to  Washington  to  see  the  President  in  the  interest 
of  an  old  friend  who  had  been  located  in  the  South,  and 


had  got  into  the  rebel  army,  and  had  been  captured  by 
our  troops  and  imprisoned.  He  drew  an  affidavit  set- 
ting forth  what  he  knew  about  the  man,  particularly 
mentioning  extenuating  circumstances  which  seemed  to 
entitle  him  to  the  generosity  or  leniency  of  the  govern- 
ment. General  Creswell  found  the  President  very 
happy.  The  Confederacy  had  collapsed.  The  scene  at 
Appomattox  had  just  been  enacted.  He  was  greeted 
with :  "  Creswell,  old  fellow,  everything  is  bright  this 
morning.  The  war  is  over.  It  has  been  a  tough  time, 
but  we  have  lived  it  out,  —  or  some  of  us  have,"  and  he 
dropped  his  voice  a  little  on  the  last  clause  of  the  sen- 
tence. "But  it  is  over;  we  are  going  to  have  good 
times  now,  and  a  united  country." 

After  a  time,  General  Creswell  told  his  story,  read  his 
affidavit,  and  said,  "  I  know  the  man  has  acted  like  a  fool, 
but  he  is  my -friend,  and  a  good  fellow ;  let  him  out,  give 
him  to  me,  and  I  will  be  responsible  that  he  won't  have 
anything  more  to  do  with  the  rebs." 

"Creswell,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln,  "you  make  me  think 
of  a  lot  of  young  folks  who  once  started  out  Maying.  To 
reach  their  destination,  they  had  to  cross  a  shallow 
stream,  and  did  so  by  means  of  an  old  flatboat.  When 
the  time  came  to  return,  they  found  to  their  dismay  that 
the  old  scow  had  disappeared.  They  were  in  sore 
trouble,  and  thought  over  all  manner  of  devices  for 
getting  over  the  water,  but  without  avail.  After  a  time, 
one  of  the  boys  proposed  that  each  fellow  should  pick 
up  the  girl  he  liked  best  and  wade  over  with  her.  The 


masterly  proposition  was  carried  out,  until  all  that  were 
left  upon  the  island  was  a  little  short  chap  and  a  great, 
long,  gothic-built,  elderly  lady.  Now,  Creswell,  you 
are  trying  to  leave  me  in  the  same  predicament.  You 
fellows  are  all  getting  your  own  friends  out  of  this  scrape  ; 
and  you  will  succeed  in  carrying  off  one  after  another, 
until  nobody  but  Jeff  Davis  and  myself  will  be  left  on 
the  island,  and  then  I  won't  know  what  to  do.  How 
should  I  feel?  How  should  I  look,  lugging  him  over? 
I  guess  the  way  to  avoid  such  an  embarrassing  situation 
is  to  let  them  all  out  at  once." 

A  somewhat  similar  illustration  he  made  at  an  informal 
Cabinet  meeting,  at  which  was  being  discussed  the  dis- 
position of  Jefferson  Davis  and  other  prominent  Con- 
federates. Each  member  of  the  Cabinet  gave  his 
opinion ;  most  of  them  were  for  hanging  the  traitors,  or 
for  some  severe  punishment.  Lincoln  said  nothing. 
Finally,  Joshua  F.  Speed,  his  old  and  confidential  friend, 
who  had  been  invited  to  the  meeting,  said,  "  I  have 
heard  the  opinion  of  your  Ministers,  and  would  like  to 
hear  yours." 

"  Well,  Josh,"  replied  Mr.  Lincoln,  "  when  I  was  a 
boy  in  Indiana,  I  went  to  a  neighbor's  house  one  morn- 
ing and  found  a  boy  of  my  own  size  holding  a  coon  by 
a  string.  I  asked  him  what  he  had  and  what  he  was 
doing.  He  says,  '  It 's  a  coon.  Dad  cotched  six  last 
night,  and  killed  all  but  this  poor  little  cuss.  Dad  told 
me  to  hold  him  until  he  came  back,  and  I  'm  afraid  he  's 
going  to  kill  this  one  too ;  and  oh,  Abe,  I  do  wish  he 


would  get  away  ! '  'Well,  why  don't  you  let  him  loose?' 
'  That  would  n't  be  right ;  and  if  I  let  him  go,  Dad 
would  give  me  hell.  But  if  he  would  get  away  himself, 
it  would  be  all  right.'  Now,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln,  "  if  Jeff 
Davis  and  those  other  fellows  will  only  get  away,  it  will 
be  all  right.  But  if  we  should  catch  them,  and  I  should 
let  them  go,  '  Dad  would  give  me  hell.'  " 

The  President  of  the  Southern  Confederacy  was,  how- 
ever, afterwards  captured  and  imprisoned  at  Fortress 
Monroe,  charged  with  treason,  etc.,  and  at  length  ad- 
mitted to  bail,  —  Mr.  Horace  Greeley,  the  great  Radical 
journalist,  becoming  one  of  his  bondsmen.  Mr.  Davis 
was  never  brought  to  trial,  and  eventually  the  charges 
against  him  were  ignored.  He  was  a  prisoner  of  State 
at  Fortress  Monroe  for  two  years;  in  the  year  1867  he 
was  released  on  bail,  went  to  Canada,  but  subsequently 
returned  to  the  State  of  Mississippi,  where  he  lived  in 
retirement  until  his  death. 

On  the  night  of  the  3d  of  March,  1865,  Mr.  Lincoln, 
with  several  members  of  his  Cabinet,  was  in  attendance 
at  the  Capitol,  awaiting  the  final  passage  of  bills  by  Con- 
gress, in  order  that  they  might  receive  the  Presidential 
signature.  In  the  intervals  between  the  reading,  con- 
sidering, and  approving  of  these  bills,  the  military  situa- 
tion was  freely  discussed.  Every  one  appeared  to  be 
happy  at  the  prospect  of  the  early  re-establishment  of 
peace,  General  Grant  having  just  telegraphed  a  glowing 
account  of  his  successes  and  his  control  of  the  situation, 
and  expressing  the  hope  that  a  very  few  days  would  find 


Richmond  in  the  hands  of  the  national  forces  and  the 
army  of  General  Lee  disbanded  or  captured.  While  the 
members  were  felicitating  one  another  on  the  approach- 
ing cessation  of  hostilities,  a  second  dispatch  from 
General  Grant  was  handed  to  Mr.  Stanton,  who,  having 
read  it,  handed  it  to  the  President  and  became  absorbed 
in  thought.  The  telegram  advised  the  Secretary  of  the 
receipt  of  a  letter  from  General  Lee,  requesting  an 
immediate  interview,  with  a  view  to  the  re- establishment 
of  peace  between  the  two  sections.  The  dispatch  hav- 
ing been  read  by  others  of  the  party,  Mr.  Lincoln's 
spirits  rose  to  a  height  rarely  witnessed  since  the  out- 
break of  the  war.  All  the  better  and  kindlier  impulses  of 
his  nature  were  aroused.  The  cry,  "  What  is  to  be  done 
with  the  rebels  when  this  cruel  war  is  over?  "  ceased  to 
ring  in  his  ears.  He  was  unable  to  restrain  himself  from 
giving  expression  to  the  natural  impulses  of  his  heart,  or 
from  foreshadowing  the  magnanimity  with  which  the 
Confederates  were  now  to  be  treated.  He  did  not  hesi- 
tate to  express  himself  as  favorably  disposed  towards 
granting  the  most  lenient  and  generous  terms  to  a 
defeated  foe. 

Mr.  Stanton  could  now  no  longer  restrain  himself;  he 
was  in  a  towering  rage,  and  turning  to  the  President,  his 
eyes  flashing  fire,  he  exclaimed :  "  Mr.  President,  you 
are  losing  sight  of  the  paramount  consideration  at  this 
juncture,  namely,  how  and  by  whom  is  this  war  to  be 
closed  ?  To-morrow  is  Inauguration  Day ;  you  will  then 
enter  upon  your  second  term  of  office.  Read  again  this 


dispatch :  don't  you  appreciate  its  significance  ?  If  you 
are  not  to  be  President  of  an  obedient,  loyal,  and  united 
people,  you  ought  not  to  take  the  oath  of  office,  —  you 
are  not  a  proper  person  to  be  empowered  with  so  high 
and  responsible  a  trust.  Your  work  is  already  achieved, 
—  all  but  reconstruction.  If  any  other  authority  than 
your  own  be  for  a  moment  recognized ;  or  if  terms  of 
peace  be  agreed  upon  that  do  not  emanate  from  yourself, 
and  do  not  imply  that  you  are  the  supreme  head  of  the 
nation,  —  you  are  not  needed.  You  should  not  consent 
to  act  in  the  humiliating  capacity  of  a  mere  figure-head, 
to  aid  in  the  acquisition  of  that  fame  for  others  which 
rightfully  belongs  to  yourself.  By  thus  doing,  you  will 
scandalize  every  true  friend  you  possess  in  the  country." 
It  was  now  Mr.  Lincoln's  turn  to  become  thoughtful. 
He  sat  at  the  table  for  a  few  minutes,  absorbed  in  deep 
reflection,  and  then,  addressing  himself  to  the  Secretary 
of  War,  said  :  "  Stanton,  you  are  right ;  this  dispatch  did 
not,  at  first  sight,  strike  me  as  I  now  consider  it."  Upon 
this  he  took  pen  and  paper  and  hurriedly  wrote  the  fol- 
lowing dispatch,  handing  it  to  Stanton,  and  requesting 
him  to  date,  sign,  and  send  it  at  once.  The  dispatch 
ran  as  follows  :  — 

"  The  President  directs  me  to  say  to  you  that  he  wishes 
you  to  have  no  conference  with  General  Lee,  unless  it  be  for 
the  capitulation  of  Lee's  army,  or  on  some  minor  and  purely 
military  matter.  He  instructs  me  to  say  that  you  are  not  to 
decide,  discuss,  or  confer  on  any  political  questions ;  the 
President,  holding  the  decision  of  these  questions  in  his  own 
hands,  will  submit  them  to  no  military  conference  or  conven- 


tion.     In  the  mean  time  you  are  to  press,  to  the  utmost  of 
your  ability,  your  military  advantage." 

The  above  dispatch  was  read,  signed,  and  sent  by  Mr. 
Stanton  immediately,  without  one  word  of  comment, 
and  soon  afterward  the  entire  party  left  the  Capitol  for 
their  respective  homes,  there  to  await  further  develop- 
ments. At  the  same  time,  the  Secretary  of  War  sent 
the  following  telegram  to  General  Grant :  — 

WASHINGTON,  March  3,  1865. 

LIEUTENANT-GENERAL  GRANT,  —  I  send  you  a  telegram 
written  by  the  President  himself,  in  answer  to  yours  of  this 
evening,  which  I  have  signed  by  his  order.  I  will  add  that 
General  Ord's  conduct  in  holding  intercourse  with  General 
Longstreet  upon  political  questions  not  committed  to  his 
charge,  is  not  approved.  The  same  thing  was  done,  in  one 
instance,  by  Major  Keys,  when  the  army  was  commanded  by 
General  McClellan,  and  he  was  sent  to  meet  Howell  Cobb 
on  the  subject  of  exchanges  ;  and  it  was  in  that  instance,  as 
in  this,  disapproved.  You  will  please,  in  future,  instruct 
officers  appointed  to  meet  rebel  officers  to  confine  them- 
selves to  the  matters  specially  committed  to  them. 

(Signed)  EDWIN  M.  STANTON, 

Secretary  of  War. 

On  the  succeeding  day  a  dispatch  was  received  from 
General  Grant  in  cipher,  of  which  the  following  is  a 

translation :  — 

CITY  POINT,  March  4,  1865. 

Hon.  E.  M.  STANTON,  Secretary  of  War: 

Your  dispatch  of  the  3d,  midnight,  received.  I  have  a 
letter  to  General  Lee,  copy  of  which  will  be  sent  you  by 
to-morrow's  mail.  I  can  assure  you  that  no  act  of  the 


enemy  will  prevent  me  pressing  all  advantages  gained  to  the 
utmost  of  my  ability.  Neither  will  I,  under  any  circum- 
stances, exceed  my  authority,  or  in  any  way  embarrass  the 
government.  It  was  because  I  had  no  right  to  meet  General 
Lee  on  the  subject  proposed  by  him,  that  I  referred  the 
matter  for  instructions. 

U.  S.  GRANT, 

Lieutenant-  General. 



THE  execution  of  the  Fugitive  Slave  Law  in  the 
District  of  Columbia  became  a  question  much 
discussed  in  Congress,  and  was  a  frightful  scandal  to  the 
Radical  members.  The  law  remained  in  force ;  and  no 
attempt  was  made  by  Congress  to  repeal  it,  or  to  pro- 
vide for  the  protection  of  the  Executive  officers  whose 
duty  it  was  to  enforce  it.  The  subject  gave  Mr.  Lincoln 
great  concern,  but  he  could  see  no  way  out  of  the  diffi- 
culty except  to  have  the  law  executed.  The  District 
had  become  the  asylum  of  the  runaway  slaves  from  the 
Border  States,  particularly  from  the  rebel  State  of  Vir- 
ginia and  the  quasi-loyal  State  of  Maryland.  So  far  as 
the  State  of  Virginia  was  concerned,  she  was  still,  accord- 
ing to  the  theory  of  the  Administration,  one  of  the 
United  States ;  and  all  Congressional  laws  on  the  stat- 
ute book  were  enforced  in  regard  to  her  as  well  as  to 
States  not  in  rebellion,  which  made  the  question  one  of 
great  embarrassment.  The  Confiscation  Act,  which  gave 
liberty  to  all  slaves  that  had  been  employed  by  the 
rebels  for  insurrectionary  purposes,  had  gone  into  effect 
in  the  month  of  August,  1861.  The  military  governor 
of  the  District  assumed  that  by  virtue  of  this  law  all 


slaves  that  came  into  the  District  from  whatever  section 
had  been  thus  employed,  and  consequently  were  free, 
and  it  became  his  duty  to  give  them  military  protection 
as  free  persons. 

This  state  of  things  caused  a  fearful  responsibility  to 
rest  upon  the  shoulders  of  the  civil  executive  authorities. 
The  President  gave  me  private  instructions  to  execute 
the  laws  until  Congress  modified  or  repealed  them. 
"  In  doing  this,"  Mr.  Lincoln  said,  "  you  will  receive 
much  adverse  criticism  and  a  good  deal  of  downright 
abuse  from  members  of  Congress.  This  is  certain  to 
come,  but  it  will  be  not  so  much  intended  for  you  as  for 
me ;  as  our  friend  Senator  Hale,  the  other  day,  said  in 
the  Senate,  '  We  must  not  strike  too  high  nor  too  low, 
but  we  must  strike  between  wind  and  water  :  the  marshal 
is  the  man  to  hit.'  And  I  say,  we  shall  have  to  stand  it 
whatever  they  send." 

Martial  law  had  not  been  declared;  there  was  not 
even  a  temporary  suspension  of  the  civil  authority,  even 
in  exceptional  cases,  in  the  District  of  Columbia.  It 
was  conceded  by  all,  that  in  time  of  danger  the  tempo- 
rary rule  of  military  authority  was  virtually  necessary  to 
the  preservation  of  the  federal  capital ;  but  at  this  time 
there  was  no  pretence  of  danger.  The  civil  courts  of 
the  District  being  in  full  power  for  the  adjudication  of 
all  cases  arising  within  their  jurisdiction,  nothing  but  a 
pressing  military  necessity  could  give  countenance  or 
pretext  for  the  suspension  of  the  civil  law.  It  was, 
therefore,  only  a  question  of  time  —  and  the  time  soon 


came  —  for  a  conflict  to  arise  between  civil  and  military 

The  conflict  grew  out  of  an  order  of  the  military  gov- 
ernor to  take  a  female  fugitive  slave  from  the  custody  of 
the  marshal  and  deliver  her  into  the  hands  of  the  mili- 
tary. The  deputies  to  whom  the  order  was  shown 
declined  to  obey  the  command,  giving  as  a  reason  for 
their  refusal  that  she  was  held  under  due  process  of  law, 
and  that  they  had  no  authority  to  give  her  up  without 
the  order  of  the  court.  Military  officers,  with  a  strong 
guard,  then  arrested  the  deputy  marshals,  seized  the  jail, 
released  the  slave,  and  left  a  military  guard  in  charge  of 
the  captured  jail.* 

I  was  temporarily  absent  at  the  time  of  the  seizure. 
When  I  returned  I  arrested  the  military  guard,  recap- 
tured the  jail,  liberated  the  prisoners  placed  therein  by 
the  military,  and  held  the  military  guard  as  prisoners.  I 
was  supported  by  the  police  and  other  civil  authorities, 
and  by  the  citizens  of  Washington ;  the  military  gover- 
nor was  supported  by  forces  under  his  command, 

WASHINGTON,  D.  C.,  May  22,  1862. 

Captain  Sherwood,  or  Officer  in  Command  at  Central  Guard  House: 

SIR,  —  You  will  send  a  sentinel  at  once  to  the  city  jail,  with 
orders  to  relieve  the  man  now  on  duty  there  at  the  jail  door,  and 
give  him  orders  to  allow  no  person  whatsoever  to  enter  or  leave 
the  jail,  without  permission  from  General  Wadsworth.  This  guard 
will  be  maintained  until  further  orders. 

By  Command  of  Brigadier-General  Wadsworth, 

A.  D.  C. 


intended  for  the  defence  of  the  city.  The  matter  was 
eventually  laid  before  the  President.  He  called  to  his 
aid  his  Attorney-General,  who  gave  a  prompt  but  decisive 
opinion  that  in  the  present  state  of  things  in  the  District 
of  Columbia  the  civil  authority  outranked  the  military ; 
and  he  gave  the  further  opinion  that  the  military  gover- 
nor's conduct  had  been  misguided  and  unauthorized, 
however  philanthropic'  might  have  been  his  purposes  and 

This  decision  on  the  subject  of  supremacy  of  authority 
by  no  means  reconciled  or  put  at  rest  the  perturbed, 
aggressive  spirit  in  Congress  which  opposed  the  Presi- 
dent's policy.  The  enthusiastic  adherents  of  this  opposi- 
tion made  the  District  jail  an  objective  point  in  the 
furtherance  of  their  ends.  They  made  personal  visits  to 
that  institution,  and  examined  all  the  inmates  whose 
color  was  not  of  orthodox  Albino-Anglo  American  tint. 
They  would  learn  the  story  of  their  wrongs  and  injuries, 
then  straightway  proceed  to  the  halls  of  Congress  and 
make  known  their  discoveries.  Detectives  were  employed 
by  them  to  make  daily  reports  of  the  "  cruelty  "  shown 
to  colored  inmates  of  the  jail,  which  reports  were  soon 
dressed  up  in  pathetic  and  classic  language  for  the  occa- 
sion. Professional  and  amateur  demagogues  made  sen- 
sational speeches  (sometimes  written  for  them  by  depart- 
ment clerks  and  professional  speech- writers),  and  "  Rome 
was  made  to  howl "  in  the  halls  of  the  American  Con- 
gress. "  Lincoln  and  his  beastly  negro  catchers  "  were 
denounced  in  unmeasured  terms. 


The  jail  was  now  by  the  necessities  of  its  surroundings 
made  the  receptacle  for  prisoners  of  all  kinds,  —  civil, 
military,  and  State.  Orders  from  the  War  Department 
were  issued  to  the  custodian  of  the  jail  to  allow  no  person 
whatever  to  communicate  with  the  military  or  State 
prisoners  without  an  order  from  the  War  Department. 
The  chairman  of  the  District  Committee  in  the  Senate, 
and  certain  others  of  that  Committee,  claimed  the  right, 
by  virtue  of  their  position,  to  go  into  the  jail  and  to 
examine  all  the  prisoners,  in  the  face  of  the  orders  of  the 
Secretary  of  War  ;  and  this  was  repeated  almost  daily. 

The  situation  became  unbearable,  and  I  sent  in  my 
resignation.  This,  however,  was  not  accepted.  The 
professional  opinion  of  the  Attorney-General  was  again 
invoked  by  the  President,  and  he  gave  his  views  as  to 
the  duties  of  the  custodian  of  the  heterogeneous  mass  of 
prisoners  in  the  jail,  —  which  resulted  in  the  request  of 
the  President  to  the  Attorney- General  to  prepare  such  an 
order  as  was  proper  for  the  marshal  to  sign,  giving  notice 
of  what  would  be  required  for  admission  of  visitors  to 
the  jail.  The  paper  was  prepared  in  the  Attorney- Gen- 
eral's office,  signed  and  sent  forth ;  and  before  the  close 
of  the  day  on  which  it  was  signed,  resolutions  were 
passed  in  Congress  declaring  the  marshal  guilty  of  con- 
tempt of  that  body  for  having  presumed  to  issue  what  it 
deemed  a  contemptuous  restriction  of  its  rights,  and  a 
committee  was  appointed  to  wait  upon  the  President  to 
demand  the  instant  dismissal  of  that  insolent  officer. 
The  President  showed  the  committee  my  resignation 


already  in  his  hands,  and  informed  them  that  he  would 
neither  accept  the  resignation  nor  dismiss  me  from  office, 
and  gave  his  reasons  for  this  action. 

After  this  the  opposition  became  more  and  more 
acrimonious  and  offensive  toward  Mr.  Lincoln  and  his 
Administration.  The  leaders  of  the  opposition  now 
resorted  to  every  means  in  their  power  to  oppose  him 
for  his  want  of  respect,  and  for  his  disobedience  to  the 
behests  of  the  co-ordinate  branch  of  the  government,  — 
forgetting  that,  Congress  having  made  the  offensive  laws, 
it  was  the  President's  duty  to  execute  them. 

Soon  the  marshal's  office  was  made  the  subject  of 
legislation  in  Congress,  to  shear  it  of  its  power  and  reduce 
its  emoluments.  The  custody  of  the  jail  and  prisoners 
was  soon  given  to  a  warden ;  and,  shortly  after,  an  Act 
was  passed  relieving  the  marshal  from  the  duties  of 
attending  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States,  and 
providing  a  special  marshal  for  that  Court,  —  thus  leav- 
ing the  office  still  one  of  great  responsibility,  but  without 
remuneration  commensurate  with  its  duties. 

Before  the  appointment  of  the  warden,  the  District 
court  had  sentenced  three  men  to  be  hanged  for  murder, 
on  a  day  subsequent  to  the  change  of  custody.  On  the 
day  set  for  the  execution,  I  refused  to  act  as  the  hang- 
man. Congress  again  passed  a  resolution  denouncing 
my  conduct,  and  instituted  an  investigation  into  the 
facts.  The  facts  were  that  the  order  of  the  court  was 
that  the  marshal  should  hang  the  condemned  men,  but 
Congress  had  unconsciously  relieved  him  from  that  pain- 


ful  duty  !  The  warden  had  no  order  for  their  execution, 
and  could  not  perform  the  service  with  any  more  pro- 
priety than  the  marshal.  The  result  of  this  blundering 
legislation,  superinduced  by  hasty,  factious  zeal  to  injure 
an  object  of  their  dislike,  was  that  Congress  had  nullified 
the  solemn  acts  of  the  United  States  District  Court,  and 
restored  to  life  and  liberty  and  immunity  from  punish- 
ment three  miscreants  whose  lives  had  been  forfeited 
and  who  should  have  been  hanged !  This  legislative 
jail-delivery  was  a  source  of  great  annoyance  and  of 
some  amusement  to  Mr.  Lincoln.  In  speaking  of  cer- 
tain members  of  Congress  and  the  part  they  had  taken 
in  this  and  other  petty  acts,  he  said :  "  I  have  great 
sympathy  for  these  men,  because  of  their  temper  and 
their  weakness ;  but  I  am  thankful  that  the  good  Lord 
has  given  to  the  vicious  ox  short  horns,  for  if  their  physi- 
cal courage  were  equal  to  their  vicious  dispositions,  some 
of  us  in  this  neck  of  the  woods  would  get  hurt." 

The  opposition  was  continued  to  the  last,  and  Mr. 
Lincoln  adhered  to  his  policy  to  the  end.  But  he  was 
so  outraged  by  the  obloquy  thrown  upon  his  worthiest 
official  acts,  so  stung  by  the  disparagement  with  which 
his  purest  and  most  patriotic  motives  were  impugned,  — 
his  existence,  in  a  word,  was  rendered  so  unhappy  by 
the  personal  as  well  as  political  attacks  of  those  for 
whose  sympathy  and  support  he  might  naturally  have 
urged  the  most  logical  and  valid  plea,  —  that  life  became 
almost  a  burden  to  him. 

As  illustrative  of  the  amenities  of  language  with  which, 


at  this  epoch  of  his  life,  the  Chief  Magistrate  of  our 
Republic  was  habitually  characterized,  it  will  suffice  to 
adduce  such  an  expression  as  this,  — "  That  hideous 
baboon  at  the  other  end  of  the  Avenue,  whom  Barnum 
should  exhibit  as  a  zoological  curiosity."  Mr.  Lincoln's 
existence  was  so  cruelly  embittered  by  these  and  other 
expressions  quite  as  virulent,  that  I  have  often  heard  him 
declare,  "I  would  rather  be  dead  than,  as  President, 
thus  abused  in  the  house  of  my  friends." 

In  the  summer  of  1861,  shortly  after  the  inglorious 
repulse  of  the  Union  army  at  Bull  Run,  Rev.  Robert 
Collyer,  the  eminent  divine,  was  on  a  visit  to  the 
federal  capital.  Participating  in  the  prevailing  senti- 
ment in  regard  to  the  incapacity  or  inefficiency  of  the 
general  government  in  the  conduct  of  military  affairs, 
he  chanced  to  pass  through  the  White  House  grounds 
on  his  way  to  the  War  Department  Casting  a  cursory 
glance  at  the  Executive  Mansion  as  he  passed,  his 
attention  was  suddenly  arrested  by  the  apparition  of 
three  pairs  of  feet,  resting  on  the  ledge  of  an  open  win- 
dow, in  one  of  the  apartments  of  the  second  story,  and 
plainly  visible  from  below.  The  reverend  gentleman 
paused,  calmly  surveyed  the  grotesque  spectacle,  and 
mentally  addressed  to  himself  the  inquiry  whether  the 
feet,  and  boots  belonging  to  them,  were  the  property  of 
officers  of  the  Executive  government,  —  at  the  same  time 
thinking  that  if  not,  they  would  have  proved  sturdy  ped- 
estals to  the  bearers  of  muskets  upon  the  recent  battle- 
field. Resuming  his  walk,  he  accosted  a  rustic  employee 


whom  he  found  at  work  about  the  grounds,  and  pointing 
to  the  window,  with  its  incongruous  adjuncts,  he  re- 
quested of  the  man  what  that  meant.  "  Why,  you  old 
fool,"  replied  the  rustic,  "  that 's  the  Cabinet  that  is  a 
settin' ;  and  them  thar  big  feet 's  old  Abe's." 

Some  time  after,  in  referring  to  this  experience  of  his 
visit  to  the  national  capital  in  a  lecture  at  Boston,  the 
reverend  gentleman  commented  on  the  imbecility  of  the 
government,  and  satirically  added:  "That's  about  all 
they  are  good  for  in  Washington,  —  to  project  their  feet 
out  of  windows  and  jabber  away ;  but  they  go  nowhere, 
and  accomplish  nothing."  But  he  subsequently,  on 
more  than  one  occasion,  rendered  full  justice  to  the 
President's  able  and  zealous  discharge  of  his  high  trust, 
saying :  "  I  abused  poor  Lincoln,  like  the  fool  that  the 
rustic  called  me,  while  his  heart  was  even  then  breaking 
with  the  anxieties  and  responsibilities  of  his  position." 



THE  fact  that  we  have  in  this  country  a  literature  of 
assassination,  "  voluminous  and  vast,"  suggests  a 
melancholy  reflection  on  the  disordered  spirit  of  the 
times  through  which  we  have  passed,  and  on  the  woful 
perversity  of  human  nature  even  under  conditions  most 
favorable  to  intellectual  progress  and  Christian  civiliza- 
tion. It  is  hurtful  to  our  pride  as  Americans  to  confess 
that  our  history  is  marred  by  records  so  repugnant  to  the 
spirit  of  our  liberal  institutions,  and  to  the  good  fellow- 
ship which  ought  to  characterize  both  individual  and 
national  life  in  a  free  republic.  But  the  appalling  fact 
remains  that  two  of  our  Chief  Magistrates,  within  as 
many  decades,  were  murdered  in  cold  blood,  and  that 
bulky  volumes  have  been  filled  with  circumstantial  ac- 
counts of  plots  and  conspiracies  by  and  against  men 
born  upon  our  soil  and  enjoying  the  full  protection  of 
our  laws ;  and  yet,  voluminous  and  extensive  as  these 
records  are,  they  are  by  no  means  complete. 

One  most  daring  attempt  upon  the  life  of  Mr.  Lincoln 
—  the  boldest  of  all  attempts  of  that  character,  and  one 
which  approached  shockingly  near  to  a  murderous  suc- 
cess —  was  never  made  public.  For  prudential  reasons 


details  were  withheld  from  the  press ;  but  as  the  motives 
which  imposed  silence  respecting  a  strange  freak  of 
homicidal  frenzy  no  longer  exist,  it  is  perhaps  a  matter 
of  duty  to  make  public  the  story,  together  with  certain 
documents  which  show  in  what  deadly  peril  Mr.  Lincoln 
stood  during  the  ceremonies  attending  his  second  inau- 
guration at  the  Capitol  in  March,  1865.  A  glance  at 
prior  conspiracies  will  lead  to  a  better  understanding  of 
the  event  to  which  these  documents  relate. 

The  first  conspiracy,  from  motives  of  policy,  had  for 
its  object  the  abduction  of  President  Buchanan.  There 
was  intense  disgust  on  the  part  of  certain  fiery  and  fero- 
cious leaders  in  the  secession  movement  with  the  con- 
servative temper  of  the  Executive  and  of  the  ruling 
members  of  his  Cabinet.  After  fruitless  attempts  to 
bully  the  Administration  into  a  change  of  policy  in  har- 
mony with  his  revolutionary  scheme,  Mr.  Wigfall,  some 
time  in  the  month  of  December,  1860,  formed  a  plan 
for  kidnapping  Mr.  Buchanan.  A  number  of  desperate 
men  were  banded  together  by  him  at  Washington,  and 
the  details  of  the  plot  were  discussed  and  agreed  upon. 
The  plan  was  to  spirit  Mr.  Buchanan  away,  install  Mr. 
Breckenridge  in  the  White  House,  and  hold  the  captive 
President  as  a  hostage  until  terms  of  compromise  could 
be  proposed  to  conservative  Democrats  and  Republicans 
in  the  North.  Mr.  Wigfall  and  other  choice  spirits  had 
no  doubt  that  their  plan  of  accommodation  could  be 
enforced  through  the  ad  interim  Executive.  The 
scheme,  however,  could  not  be  executed,  in  its  first 


stage,  without  the  concurrence  and  co-operation  of  Mr. 
Floyd,  who  threw  Wigfall  into  a  paroxysm  of  explosive 
wrath  by  flatly  refusing  to  have  anything  to  do  with  the 
enterprise.  It  was  accordingly  abandoned,  so  far  as  Mr. 
Buchanan  was  concerned. 

When  Mr.  Lincoln  was  inaugurated,  in  March,  1861, 
the  organization  of  plotters  was  still  intact ;  but  no  plan 
of  assassination  had,  as  yet,  received  the  sanction  of  the 
conspirators  as  a  body.  It  was  their  purpose  to  kidnap 
Mr.  Lincoln  and  hold  him  in  captivity,  without  injury  to 
his  person,  until  such  concessions  were  made  to  the 
Southern  leaders  as  their  plan  of  compromise  rendered 
necessary.  This  second  scheme  of  abduction,  having 
proved  as  abortive  as  the  first,  was  abandoned  in  favor  of 
a  more  deadly  purpose.  Some  of  the  more  desperate 
among  the  conspirators,  exasperated  by  repeated  failures, 
resolved  to  dispose  of  Mr.  Lincoln  by  the  swifter  and 
surer  means  afforded  by  the  dagger  or  the  bullet. 

Circumstances,  in  a  surprising  way,  seemed  to  favor 
their  murderous  designs.  Against  the  protest  of  his 
friends,  who  by  detective  means  had  obtained  from  the 
plotters  many  of  their  secrets,  Mr.  Lincoln  made  the 
Soldiers'  Home  his  summer  residence.  The  conspirators 
thought  that  either  abduction  or  assassination  could  be 
accomplished  without  difficulty.  They  resolved  upon 
the  latter.  They  would  dispatch  him  during  one  of  his 
lonely  rides  after  nightfall  from  the  White  House  to  his 
summer  retreat.  The  attempt  was  made. 

In  the  spring  and  early  summer  of  1862  I  persistently 


urged  upon  Mr.  Lincoln  the  necessity  of  a  military  escort 
to  accompany  him  to  and  from  his  residence  and  place 
of  business,  and  he  as  persistently  opposed  my  proposi- 
tion, always  saying,  when  the  subject  was  referred  to, 
that  there  was  not  the  slightest  occasion  for  such  pre- 
caution. One  morning,  however,  in  the  month  of 
August  he  came  riding  up  to  the  White  House  steps, 
where  I  met  him,  with  a  merry  twinkle  in  his  eye  that 
presaged  fun  of  some  kind.  Before  he  alighted  he  said, 
"  I  have  something  to  tell  you !  "  and  after  we  had 
entered  his  office  he  locked  the  doors,  sat  down,  and 
commenced  his  narration.  (At  this  distance  of  time  I 
will  not  pretend  to  give  the  exact  words  of  this  interview, 
but  will  state  it  according  to  my  best  recollection.)  He 
said  :  "  You  know  I  have  always  told  you  I  thought  you 
an  idiot  that  ought  to  be  put  in  a  strait  jacket  for  your 
apprehensions  of  my  personal  danger  from  assassination. 
You  also  know  that  the  way  we  skulked  into  this  city,  in 
the  first  place,  has  been  a  source  of  shame  and  regret  to 
me,  for  it  did  look  so  cowardly  !  " 

To  all  of  which  I  simply  assented,  saying,  "  Yes,  go 

"Well,"  said  he,  "I  don't  now  propose  to  make  you 
my  father-confessor  and  acknowledge  a  change  of  heart, 
yet  I  am  free  to  admit  that  just  now  I  don't  know  what 
to  think :  I  am  staggered.  Understand  me,  I  do  not. 
want  to  oppose  my  pride  of  opinion  against  light  and 
reason,  but  I  am  in  such  a  state  of  '  betweenity  '  in  my 
conclusions  that  I  can't  say  that  the  judgment  of  this 


court  is  prepared  to  proclaim  a  reliable  '  decision  upon 
the  facts  presented.' '" 

He  paused ;  I  requested  him  to  go  on,  for  I  was  in 
painful  suspense.  He  then  proceeded. 

"  Last  night,  about  1 1  o'clock,  I  went  out  to  the 
Soldiers'  Home  alone,  riding  Old  Abe,  as  you  call  him  [a 
horse  he  delighted  in  riding],  and  when  I  arrived  at  the 
foot  of  the  hill  on  the  road  leading  to  the  entrance  of 
the  Home  grounds,  I  was  jogging  along  at  a  slow  gait, 
immersed  in  deep  thought,  contemplating  what  was  next 
to  happen  in  the  unsettled  state  of  affairs,  when  suddenly 
I  was  aroused  —  I  may  say  the  arousement  lifted  me  out 
of  my  saddle  as  well  as  out  of  my  wits  —  by  the  report 
of  a  rifle,  and  seemingly  the  gunner  was  not  fifty  yards 
from  where  my  contemplations  ended  and  my  acceler- 
ated transit  began.  My  erratic  namesake,  with  little 
warning,  gave  proof  of  decided  dissatisfaction  at  the 
racket,  and  with  one  reckless  bound  he  unceremoniously 
separated  me  from  my  eight- dollar  plug-hat,  with  which 
I  parted  company  without  any  assent,  expressed  or  im- 
plied, upon  my  part.  At  a  break-neck  speed  we  soon 
arrived  in  a  haven  of  safety.  Meanwhile  I  was  left  in 
doubt  whether  death  was  more  desirable  from  being 
thrown  from  a  runaway  federal  horse,  or  as  the  tragic 
result  of  a  rifle-ball  fired  by  a  disloyal  bushwhacker  in 
the  middle  of  the  night." 

This  was  all  told  in  a  spirit  of  levity;  he  seemed 
unwilling,  even  in  appearance,  to  attach  that  importance 
to  the  event  which  I  was  disposed  to  give  to  it.  He 


seemed  to  want  to  believe  it  a  joke.  "  Now,"  said  he, 
"  in  the  face  of  this  testimony  in  favor  of  your  theory  of 
danger  to  me,  personally,  I  can't  bring  myself  to  believe 
that  any  one  has  shot  or  will  deliberately  shoot  at  me 
with  the  purpose  of  killing  me  ;  although  I  must  acknowl- 
edge that  I  heard  this  fellow's  bullet  whistle  at  an 
uncomfortably  short  distance  from  these  headquarters  of 
mine.  I  have  about  concluded  that  the  shot  was  the 
result  of  accident.  It  may  be  that  some  one  on  his 
return  from  a  day's  hunt,  regardless  of  the  course  of  his 
discharge,  fired  off  his  gun  as  a  precautionary  measure  of 
safety  to  his  family  after  reaching  his  house."  This  was 
said  with  much  seriousness. 

He  then  playfully  proceeded  :  "  I  tell  you  there  is  no 
time  on  record  equal  to  that  made  by  the  two  Old  Abes 
on  that  occasion.  The  historic  ride  of  John  Gilpin,  and 
Henry  Wilson's  memorable  display  of  bareback  eques- 
trianship  on  the  stray  army  mule  from  the  scenes  of  the 
battle  of  Bull  Run,  a  year  ago,  are  nothing  in  comparison 
to  mine,  either  in  point  of  time  made  or  in  ludicrous 
pageantry.  My  only  advantage  over  these  worthies  was 
in  having  no  observers.  I  can  truthfully  say  that  one  of 
the  Abes  was  frightened  on  this  occasion,  but  modesty 
forbids  my  mentioning  which  of  us  is  entitled  to  that 
distinguished  honor.  This  whole  thing  seems  farcical. 
No  good  can  result  at  this  time  from  giving  it  publicity. 
It  does  seem  to  me  that  I  am  in  more  danger  from  the 
augmentation  of  imaginary  peril  than  from  a  judicious 
silence,  be  the  danger  ever  so  great ;  and,  moreover,  I 


do  not  want  it  understood  that  I  share  your  apprehen- 
sions.    I  never  have." 

At  this  time  Mr.  Lincoln  was  to  me  a  study.  It 
would  seem  that  he  was  always  prepared  for  the  inevit- 
able, and  singularly  indifferent  as  to  his  personal  safety. 
He  was  then  still  suffering  from  his  terrible  domestic 
affliction,  the  death  of  his  favorite  son  Willie.  He 
doubtless  at  times  acted  an  unnatural  part  in  his  endeavors 
to  banish  from  his  memory  the  disturbing  recollections 
of  his  lost  idol.  I  often  recur  with  mingled  feelings  of 
admiration  and  sadness  to  the  wonderful  simplicity  and 
perfect  faith  exemplified  in  his  narration  of  the  hazardous 
experience  above  described.  He  said :  "  I  am  deter- 
mined to  borrow  no  trouble.  I  believe  in  the  right,  and 
that  it  will  ultimately  prevail;  and  I  believe  it  is  the 
inalienable  right  of  man,  unimpaired  even  by  this  dread- 
ful distraction  of  our  country,  to  be  happy  or  miserable 
at  his  own  election,  and  I  for  one  make  choice  of  the 
former  alternative." 

"  Yes,"  said  I,  "  but  it  is  a  devil  of  a  poor  protection 
against  a  shot-gun  in  time  of  war ;  for  that  fellow  on  the 
road-side  last  night  was  just  such  a  philosopher  as  your- 
self, although  acting  from  a  different  standpoint.  He 
exercised  one  of  his  supposed  inalienable  rights  to  make 
himself  happy  and  the  country  miserable  by  attempting 
to  kill  you ;  and  unless  you  are  more  careful  and  discreet, 
and  will  be  governed  by  wiser  counsels  than  you  derive 
from  your  own  obstinate  persistency  in  recklessness,  in 
less  than  a  week  you  '11  have  neither  inalienable  nor  any 


other  rights,  and  we  shall  have  no  Lincoln.  The  time, 
I  fear,  may  not  be  far  distant  when  this  republic  will  be 
minus  a  pretty  respectable  President." 

It  was  impossible,  however,  to  induce  him  to  forego 
these  lonely  and  dangerous  journeys  between  the  Execu- 
tive Mansion  and  the  Soldiers'  Home.  A  stranger  to 
fear,  he  often  eluded  our  vigilance;  and  before  his 
absence  could  be  noted  he  would  be  well  on  his  way  to 
his  summer  residence,  alone,  and  many  times  at  night. 

Another  occasion  when  the  vigilance  and  anxiety  of 
his  friends  were  exercised  will  appear  in  the  following 
extract  from  a  memorandum  written  by  Robert  Lamon, 
who  was  deputy  marshal  of  the  District  of  Columbia  at 
the  time :  — 

In  the  early  part  of  the  night  my  brother  came  to  me  and 
asked  me  to  join  him'in  the  search  for  Mr.  Lincoln.  He  was 
greatly  disturbed.  We  drove  rapidly  to  the  Soldiers'  Home, 
and  as  we  neared  the  entrance  to  the  grounds  we  met  a  car- 
riage. Behind  it  we  could  see  in  the  darkness  a  man  on 
horseback.  My  brother,  who  seemed  unusually  suspicious, 
commanded  the  party  to  halt.  His  order  was  instantly 
obeyed.  "  Who  are  you  ?  "  he  demanded,  in  the  same  per- 
emptory tone.  A  voice  from  within  the  carriage  responded, 
"  Why  do  you  ask  ?  "  The  speakers  recognized  each  other. 
The  one  in  the  carriage  was  Secretary  Stanton,  and  the  man 
behind  it  was  one  of  his  orderlies.  "  Where  is  Mr.  Lincoln  ?  " 
asked  Stanton.  "  I  have  been  to  the  Soldiers'  Home  and  he 
is  not  there.  I  am  exceedingly  uneasy  about  him.  He  is  not 
at  the  White  House  ? "  "  No,"  said  my  brother,  "  he  is  not 
there.  I  have  looked  for  him  everywhere."  We  hurried  back 
to  the  city.  Arriving  at  the  White  House  before  Mr.  Stan- 
ton,  we  found  Mr.  Lincoln  walking  across  the  lawn.  My 


brother  went  with  him  to  the  War  Department,  and  from 
there  took  him  to  his  [Lamon's]  house,  where  Mr.  Lincoln 
slept  that  night  and  the  three  or  four  nights  following,  Mrs. 
Lincoln  being  at  that  time  in  New  York. 

(Signed)  ROBT.  LAMON. 

My  anxiety  about  Mr.  Lincoln  that  evening  grew  out 
of  a  report  of  an  alarming  character  made  to  me  by  one 
of  my  detectives.  Stanton  had  threatening  news  also, 
and  was  therefore  excited  about  Mr.  Lincoln's  safety. 
He  told  me  that  he  never  had  so  great  a  scare  in  his  life 
as  he  had  that  night.  The  brusque  Secretary  thought 
the  deputy  marshal  and  I  were  assassins.  The  incident 
provoked  much  merriment  among  the  parties  concerned, 
no  one  enjoying  the  serio-comic  part  of  it  more  than 
Mr.  Lincoln  himself. 

Meanwhile  the  conspirators,  becoming  alarmed  for 
their  own  safety,  observed  a  stricter  caution.  Their 
movements  were  embarrassed  by  the  escort  of  cavalry 
which  Mr.  Lincoln  was  finally  induced  to  accept,  after 
prolonged  importunities  by  those  who  had  certain  knowl- 
edge of  the  dangers  to  which  he  was  exposed.  Lost 
opportunities,  baffled  hopes,  exasperating  defeats,  served 
however  only  to  heighten  the  deadly  determination  of 
the  plotters ;  and  so  matters  drifted  on  until  the  day  of 
Mr.  Lincoln's  second  inauguration.  A  tragedy  was 
planned  for  that  day  which  has  no  parallel  in  the  history 
of  criminal  audacity,  if  considered  as  nothing  more  than 
a  crime  intended. 

Everybody  knows  what  throngs  assemble  at  the  Capi- 


tol  to  witness  the  imposing  ceremonies  attending  the 
inauguration  of  a  President  of  the  United  States.  It  is 
amazing  that  any  human  being  could  have  seriously 
entertained  the  thought  of  assassinating  Mr.  Lincoln  in 
the  presence  of  such  a  concourse  of  citizens.  And  yet 
there  was  such  a  man  in  the  assemblage.  He  was  there 
for  the  single  purpose  of  murdering  the  illustrious  leader 
who  for  the  second  time  was  about  to  assume  the  burden 
of  the  Presidency.  That  man  was  John  Wilkes  Booth. 
Proof  of  his  identity,  and  a  detailed  account  of  his  move- 
ments while  attempting  to  reach  the  platform  where  Mr. 
Lincoln  stood,  will  be  found  in  many  affidavits,  of  which 
the  following  is  a  specimen  :  — 



Robert  Strong,  a  citizen  of  said  County  and  District, 
being  duly  sworn,  says  that  he  was  a  policeman  at  the  Capi- 
tol on  the  day  of  the  second  inauguration  of  President  Lin- 
coln, and  was  stationed  at  the  east  door  of  the  rotunda,  with 
Commissioner  B.  B.  French,  at  the  time  the  President,  ac- 
companied by  the  judges  and  others,  passed  out  to  the  plat- 
form where  the  ceremonies  of  inauguration  were  about  to 
begin,  when  a  man  in  a  very  determined  and  excited  manner 
broke  through  the  line  of  policemen  which  had  been  formed 
to  keep  the  crowd  out.  Lieutenant  Westfall  immediately 
seized  the  stranger,  and  a  considerable  scuffle  ensued.  The 
stranger  seemed  determined  to  get  to  the  platform  where  the 
President  and  his  party  were,  but  Lieutenant  Westfall  called 
for  assistance.  The  Commissioner  closed  the  door,  or  had 
it  closed,  and  the  intruder  was  finally  thrust  from  the  passage 
leading  to  the  platform  which  was  reserved  for  the  Presi- 
dent's party.  After  the  President  was  assassinated,  the 


singular  conduct  of  this  stranger  on  that  day  was  frequently 
talked  of  by  the  policemen  who  observed  it.  Lieutenant 
Westfall  procured  a  photograph  of  the  assassin  Booth  soon 
after  the  death  of  the  President,  and  showed  it  to  Commis- 
sioner French  in  my  presence  and  in  the  presence  of  several 
other  policemen,  and  asked  him  if  he  had  ever  met  that  man. 
The  commissioner  examined  it  attentively  and  said  :  "  Yes, 
I  would  know  that  face  among  ten  thousand.  That  is  the 
man  you  had  a  scuffle  with  on  inauguration  day.  That  is 
the  same  man."  Affiant  also  recognized  the  photograph. 
Lieutenant  Westfall  then  said :  "  This  is  the  picture  of  J. 
Wilkes  Booth."  Major  French  exclaimed  :  "  My  God  !  what 

a  fearful  risk  we  ran  that  day !  " 


Sworn  to  and  subscribed  before  me  this  2oth  day  of 
March,  1876. 


[SEAL]  Notary  Public. 

From  this  sworn  statement  it  will  be  seen  that  Booth's 
plan  was  one  of  phenomenal  audacity.  So  frenzied  was 
the  homicide  that  he  determined  to  take  the  President's 
life  at  the  inevitable  sacrifice  of  his  own;  for  nothing 
can  be  more  certain  than  that  the  murder  of  Mr.  Lincoln 
on  that  public  occasion,  in  the  presence  of  a  vast  con- 
course of  admiring  citizens,  would  have  been  instantly 
avenged.  The  infuriated  populace  would  have  torn  the 
assassin  to  pieces,  and  this  the  desperate  man  doubtless 

It  is  a  curious  fact,  that,  although  Mr.  Lincoln  believed 
that  his  career  would  be  cut  short  by  violence,  he  was 
incorrigibly  skeptical  as  to  the  agency  in  the  expected 
tragedy,  with  one  solitary  exception.  Elderly  residents 


of  Washington  will  remember  one  Garowski,  a  Polish 
exile,  as  many  believed.  He  was  an  accomplished  lin- 
guist, a  revolutionist  by  nature,  restless,  revengeful,  and 
of  a  fiery  and  ungovernable  temper.  He  had  been 
employed  in  the  State  Department  as  a  translator,  I 
believe,  but  had  quarrelled  with  Mr.  Seward  and  was 
discharged.  This  caused  him  to  pursue  Lincoln,  Seward, 
and  Sumner  with  bitter  hatred.  The  curious  will  find 
in  a  published  diary  of  his  a  fantastic  classification  of 
his  enemies.  The  President  he  rated  as  "  third-class," 
according  to  his  estimate  of  statesmanlike  qualities. 

From  this  man  Gurowski,  and  from  him  alone,  Mr. 
Lincoln  really  apprehended  danger  by  a  violent  assault, 
although  he  knew  not  what  the  sense  of  fear  was  like. 
Mr.  Lincoln  more  than  once  said  to  me  :  "  So  far  as  my 
personal  safety  is  concerned,  Gurowski  is  the  only  man 
who  has  given  me  a  serious  thought  of  a  personal  nature. 
From  the  known  disposition  of  the  man,  he  is  dangerous 
wherever  he  may  be.  I  have  sometimes  thought  that  he 
might  try  to  take  my  life.  It  would  be  just  like  him  to 
do  such  a  thing." 

The  following  letter  was  written  one  night  when  I  was 
much  annoyed  at  what  seemed  to  me  Mr.  Lincoln's 
carelessness  in  this  matter :  — 

Dec.  10,  1864,  1.30  o'clock,  A.  M. 
Hon.  A.  Lincoln: 

SIR,  —  I  regret  that  you  do  not  appreciate  what  I  have 
repeatedly  said  to  you  in  regard  to  the  proper  police  arrange- 
ments connected  with  your  household  and  your  own  personal 


safety.  You  are  in  danger.  I  have  nothing  to  ask,  and  I 
flatter  myself  that  you  will  at  least  believe  that  I  am  honest. 
If,  however,  you  have  been  impressed  differently,  do  me  and 
the  country  the  justice  to  dispose  at  once  of  all  suspected 
officers,  and  accept  my  resignation  of  the  marshalship,  which 
is  hereby  tendered.  I  will  give  you  further  reasons  which 
have  impelled  me  to  this  course.  To-night,  as  you  have 
done  on  several  previous  occasions,  you  went  unattended  to 
the  theatre.  When  I  say  unattended,  I  mean  that  you  went 
alone  with  Charles  Sumner  and  a  foreign  minister,  neither  of 
whom  could  defend  himself  against  an  assault  from  any  able- 
bodied  woman  in  this  city.  And  you  know,  or  ought  to 
know,  that  your  life  is  sought  after,  and  will  be  taken  unless 
you  and  your  friends  are  cautious  ;  for  you  have  many  ene- 
mies within  our  lines.  You  certainly  know  that  I  have  pro- 
vided men  at  your  mansion  to  perform  all  necessary  police 
duty,  and  I  am  always  ready  myself  to  perform  any  duty 
that  will  properly  conduce  to  your  interest  or  your  safety. 

God  knows  that  I  am  unselfish  in  this  matter ;  and  I  do 
think  that  I  have  played  low  comedy  long  enough,  and  at  my 
time  of  life  I  think  I  ought  at  least  to  attempt  to  play  star 

I  have  the  honor  to  be 

Your  obedient  servant, 


Mr.  Lincoln  had  in  his  great  heart  no  place  for  un- 
charitableness  or  suspicion ;  which  accounts  for  his 
singular  indifference  to  the  numberless  cautions  so  earn- 
estly and  persistently  pressed  upon  him  by  friends  who 
knew  the  danger  to  which  he  was  hourly  exposed.  He 
had  a  sublime  faith  in  human  nature ;  and  in  that  faith 
he  lived  until  the  fatal  moment  when  the  nations  of  the 


earth  were  startled  by  a  tragedy  whose  mournful  conse- 
quences no  man  can  measure. 

An  unwonted  interest  attaches  to  the  assassination  of 
Mr.  Lincoln,  not  alone  from  the  peculiarly  dramatic 
incidents  by  which  it  was  attended,  but  also  from  the 
controlling  influence  he  would  unquestionably  have  ex- 
erted, if  his  life  had  been  spared,  in  modifying  and 
facilitating  the  solution  of  perhaps  the  greatest  social 
and  political  problem  of  modern  times.  This  problem, 
after  being  committed  to  the  solemn  arbitrament  of  the 
sword,  and  passing  through  its  ordeal,  had  now  reached 
an  ulterior  stage  of  development  which  demanded,  in 
the  council  chamber,  the  exercise  of  even  higher  admin- 
istrative qualities  than  those  which  had  hitherto  directed 
its  general  conduct  in  the  field.  These  attributes,  it  was 
generally  recognized  and  conceded,  were  possessed  by 
Mr.  Lincoln  in  a  pre-eminent  degree.  To  a  constancy 
of  purpose  and  tenacity  of  will,  of  which  conspicuous 
evidence  had  been  presented  in  the  final  triumph  of  the 
Union  cause,  he  united  a  conciliatory  disposition,  and 
the  gentleness,  sensibility,  and  simplicity  of  a  child. 

Frequent  reference  has  already  been  made  to  the 
humane  and  generous  promptings  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  great 
soul,  in  all  the  varied  relations  of  his  life,  as  well  private 
as  official,  and  to  instances  of  patriotism  and  of  self-sacri- 
fice almost  unparalleled  in  the  annals  of  history. 

With  a  more  enlarged  experience  of  the  violence  of 
party  passion  and  of  internecine  strife,  and  of  the  ex- 
cesses to  which  they  sometimes  unhappily  lead,  it  seems 


almost  incredible  that  the  apprehensions  of  danger  to 
Mr.  Lincoln  should  have  been  shared  by  so  few,  when 
one  thinks  of  the  simplicity  of  his  domestic  habits,  the 
facilities  at  all  times  afforded  for  a  near  approach  to  his 
presence,  and  the  entire  absence  of  all  safeguards  for  the 
protection  of  his  person,  save  the  watchfulness  of  one  or 
two  of  his  most  immediate  friends ;  and  this,  too,  at  a 
period  of  such  unprecedented  party  excitement  and  sec- 
tional strife  and  animosity.  But  the  truth  is,  the  crime 
of  assassination  was  so  abhorrent  to  the  genius  of  Anglo- 
Saxon  civilization,  so  foreign  to  the  spirit  and  practice  of 
our  republican  institutions,  that  little  danger  was  appre- 
hended of  an  outrage  against  society  at  large,  the  recol- 
lection of  which  even  now  suffices  to  tinge  with  a  blush 
of  shame  the  cheek  of  every  true  American,  whether  of 
Northern  or  of  Southern  birth. 

In  1880,  after  the  nomination  of  General  Garfield  for 
President,  General  Grant  visited  Boulder,  Col.,  where  I 
was  at  that  time  residing.  We  had  a  long  conversation 
on  the  assassination  of  Mr.  Lincoln ;  and  he  told  me  that 
about  the  period  of  the  surrender  of  General  Lee  no  sub- 
ject gave  him  deeper  concern  than  the  personal  safety  of 
the  President.  He  stated  that  while  no  special  cause  ex- 
isted for  this  apprehension,  as  the  war  was  manifestly  and 
inevitably  drawing  to  a  conclusion,  he  had  been  harassed 
by  almost  constant  fears  and  anxieties  for  Mr.  Lincoln's 
life.  "  I  learned,"  said  he,  "  that  your  own  apprehen- 
sions were  excited  from  the  very  outbreak  of  the  war ;  in 
fact,  before  war  was  declared.  It  seems  unaccountable  to 


me  now,  in  reviewing  the  situation,  that  more  persons 
were  not  so  impressed.  I  was  aware,  during  all  the 
latter  part  of  the  war,  of  your  own  fears,  and  of  what 
you  had  done  and  were  doing  for  his  safety  and 

I  read  a  communication  addressed  to  the  "  St.  Louis 
Democrat,"  in  July,  1886,  by  Mr.  R.  C.  Laverty,  Gene- 
ral Grant's  telegraph  operator,  in  which  he  states  that  at 
the  time  of  the  surrender,  "  General  Grant  reported 
every  day  regularly  to  Washington,  and  was  in  constant 
communication  at  that  time  with  the  capital,  because  he 
was  extremely  anxious  about  the  personal  safety  of  the 

Upon  the  assassination  of  Mr.  Lincoln  being  com- 
municated to  General  Grant  he  exclaimed  :  "  This  is 
the  darkest  day  of  my  life  !  I  do  not  know  what  it 
means.  Here  was  the  Rebellion  put  down  in  the  field, 
and  it  is  reasserting  itself  in  the  gutter.  We  had  fought 
it  as  war,  we  have  now  to  fight  it  as  murder."  Con- 
tinuing his  observations  he  said  :  "  I  was  busy  sending 
off  orders  to  stop  recruiting  and  the  purchase  of  supplies, 
and  to  muster  out  the  army.  Mr.  Lincoln  had  promised 
to  go  to  the  theatre  that  evening  and  wanted  me  to 
accompany  him.  While  I  was  with  the  President  a  note 
was  received  by  me  from  Mrs.  Grant,  saying  that  she 
was  desirous  of  leaving  Washington  on  the  same  evening 
on  a  visit  to  her  daughter  at  Burlington.  Some  inci- 
dents of  a  trivial  character  had  influenced  this  determi- 
nation, and  she  decided  to  leave  by  an  evening  train.  I 


was  not  disinclined  to  meet  her  wishes,  not  caring  par- 
ticularly to  go  to  the  theatre.  I  therefore  made  my 
excuses  to  the  President,  and  at  the  hour  determined 
upon  we  left  home  for  the  railway  station.  As  we  were 
driving  along  Pennsylvania  Avenue,  a  horseman  rode 
rapidly  past  us  at  a  gallop,  and  wheeling  his  horse,  rode 
back,  peering  into  our  carriage  as  he  again  passed  us. 
Mrs.  Grant,  with  a  perceptible  shade  of  concern  in  her 
voice  and  manner,  remarked  to  me :  '  That  is  the  very 
man  who  sat  near  us  at  lunch  to-day  with  some  others, 
and  tried  to  overhear  our  conversation.  He  was  so 
rude,  you  remember,  as  to  causs  us  to  leave  the  dining- 
room.  Here  he  is  again,  riding  after  us  ! '  For  myself 
I  thought  it  was  only  idle  curiosity,  but  learned  afterward 
that  the  horseman  was  Booth.  It  seemed  that  I  was  also 
to  have  been  attacked,  and  Mrs.  Grant's  sudden  deter- 
mination to  leave  Washington  deranged  the  plan.  Only 
a  few  days  afterwards  I  received  an  anonymous  letter 
stating  that  the  writer  had  been  detailed  to  assassinate 
me ;  that  he  rode  in  my  train  as  far  as  Havre  de  Grace, 
and  as  my  car  was  locked  he  failed  to  get  in.  He  now 
thanked  God  he  had  so  failed.  I  remember  very  well 
that  the  conductor  locked  our  car  door ;  but  how  far  the 
letter  was  genuine  I  am  unable  to  say.  I  was  advised  of 
the  assassination  of  Mr.  Lincoln  in  passing  through  Phila- 
delphia, and  immediately  returned  to  Washington  by  a 
special  train." 

When  the  dreadful  tragedy  occurred  I  was  out  of  the 
city,  having  gone  to  Richmond  two  days  before  on  busi- 


ness  for  Mr.  Lincoln  connected  with  the  call  of  a  con- 
vention for  reconstruction,  about  which  there  had  arisen 
some  complications.  I  have  preserved  the  pass  Mr. 
Lincoln  gave  me  to  go  through  to  Richmond,  of  which 
the  following  is  a  fac-simile :  —  u 


yft  '  sr 

0  U**&t~v0+~<S 

This  was  perhaps  the  last  passport  ever  written  01 
authorized  by  Abraham  Lincoln. 

On  the  eve  of  my  departure  I  urged  upon  Mr.  Usher, 
the  Secretary  of  the  Interior,  to  persuade  Mr.  Lincoln  to 
exercise  extreme  caution,  and  to  go  out  as  little  as  pos- 
sible while  I  was  absent.  Mr.  Usher  went  with  me  to 
see  Mr.  Lincoln ;  and  when  about  to  leave,  I  asked  him 
if  he  would  make  me  a  promise.  He  asked  what  it  was, 
and  said  that  he  thought  he  could  venture  to  say  he 
would.  I  wanted  him  to  promise  me  that  he  would  not 
go  out  after  night  while  I  was  gone,  particularly  to  the 
theatre.  He  turned  to  Mr.  Usher  and  said  :  — 

"  Usher,  this  boy  is  a  monomaniac  on  the  subject  of 
my  safety.  I  can  hear  him  or  hear  of  his  being  around, 


at  all  times  of  the  night,  to  prevent  somebody  from  mur- 
dering me.  He  thinks  I  shall  be  killed ;  and  we  think 
he  is  going  crazy."  He  then  added  :  "What  does  any 
one  want  to  assassinate  me  for  ?  If  any  one  wants  to  do 
so,  he  can  do  it  any  day  or  night,  if  he  is  ready  to  give 
his  life  for  mine.  It  is  nonsense." 

Mr.  Usher  then  said :  "  Mr.  Lincoln,  it  is  well  to 
listen  and  give  heed  to  Lamon.  He  is  thrown  among 
people  that  give  him  opportunities  to  know  more  about 
such  matters  than  we  can  know." 

I  then  renewed  my  request,  standing  with  my  hat  in 
my  hand,  ready  to  start. 

"  Well,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln,  "  I  promise  to  do  the  best 
I  can  towards  it."  He  then  shook  me  cordially  by  the 
hand,  and  said,  "  Good-bye.  God  bless  you,  Hill !  " 

This  was  the  last  time  I  ever  saw  my  friend. 

APRIL   14 

"IV /PR.  LINCOLN,  accompanied  by  his  wife,  Miss  Har- 
ris  and  Maj.  Rathbone,  of  Albany,  New  York,  was 
occupying  a  box  at  Ford's  Theatre,  in  the  city  of  Wash- 
ington. The  play  was  "  Our  American  Cousin/'  with  the 
elder  Sothern  in  the  principal  role.  Mr.  Lincoln  was  en- 
joying it  greatly.  Lee  had  surrendered  on  the  pth ;  on 
the  i3th  the  war  was  everywhere  regarded  as  ended, 
and  upon  that  day  Secretary  Stanton  had  telegraphed  to 
Gen.  Dix,  Governor  of  New  York,  requesting  him  to 
stop  the  draft.  Sothern  as  Lord  Dundreary  was  at  his 
best.  Lincoln  was  delighted.  The  lines  which  care  and 
responsibility  had  so  deeply  graven  on  his  brow,  were 
now  scarcely'visible.  His  people  had  just  passed  through 
the  greatest  civil  war  known  in  the  history  of  nations  and 
he  had  become  well  convinced  that  now,  the  cause  of 
strife  being  destroyed,  the  government  over  which  he 
was  ruling  would  be  made  stronger,  greater  and  better 
by  the  crucial  test  through  which  it  has  passed.  Before 
leaving  for  the  theatre  he  had  pronounced  it  the  hap- 
piest day  of  his  life.  He  looked,  indeed,  as  if  he  now 
fully  realized  the  consummation  of  the  long  cherished  and 
fondest  aspiration  of  his  heart.  He  was  at  length  the 
undisputed  Chief  Magistrate  of  a  confederation  of  States, 


Green  Room. 

Head  of  Funeral  Train  ; 

"  Funeral  Car  that  carried  Mr.  Lincoln's  Remains  to  Springfield" 

"Springfield,  May  4th,  1865" 


constituting  the  freest  and  most  powerful  commonwealth 
of  modern  times. 

At  some  part  of  the  performance  Sothern  appeared  on 
the  stage  with  Miss  Meridith,  the  heroine,  on  one  arm 
and  a  wrap  or  shawl  carelessly  thrown  over  the  other. 
The  latter  seats  herself  upon  a  garden  lounge  placed  on 
the  stage  near  the  box  occupied  by  the  President  on  this 
occasion.  Lord  Dundreary  retires  a  few  paces  distant 
from  the  rustic  seat  when  Miss  Meridith,  glancing  lan- 
guidly at  his  lordship,  exclaims :  "  Me  lord,  will  you 
kindly  throw  my  shawl  over  my  shoulders  —  there  appears 
to  be  a  draught  here."  Sothern,  at  once  complying  with 
her  request,  advanced  with  the  mincing  step  that  immor- 
talized him ;  and  with  a  merry  twinkle  of  the  eye,  and  a 
significant  glance  directed  at  Mr.  Lincoln,  responded  in 
the  happy  impromptu :  "  You  are  mistaken,  Miss  Mary, 
the  draft  has  already  been  stopped  by  order  of  the  Presi- 
dent ! "  This  sally  caused  Mr.  Lincoln  to  laugh,  as  few 
except  himself  could  laugh,  and  an  outburst  of  merriment 
resounded  from  all  parts  of  the  house.  It  was  Mr.  Lin- 
coln's last  laugh! 


Note  i.     Page  20,  line  21,  after  the  word  "  war." 

Mr.  Lincoln  did  not  think  money  for  its  own  sake  a  fit 
object  of  any  man's  ambition. 
Note  2.     Page  24,  line  2,  after  the  word  "  Mexico." 

In  a  speech  delivered  in  the  House  July  27,  1848,  on 
General  Politics,  Mr.  Lincoln  said  :  "  The  declaration  that  we 
(the  Whigs)  have  always  opposed  the  Mexican  War  is  true 
or  false  accordingly  as  one  may  understand  the  term  '  op- 
posing the  war.'  If  to  say  '  the  war  was  unnecessarily  and 
unconstitutionally  commenced  by  the  President '  be  oppos- 
ing the  war,  then  the  Whigs  have  very  generally  opposed  it. 
Whenever  they  have  spoken  at  all,  they  have  said  this ; 
and  they  said  it  on  what  appeared  good  reasons  to  them : 
the  marching  an  army  into  the  midst  of  a  peaceful  Mexican 
settlement,  frightening  the  inhabitants  away,  leaving  their 
growing  crops  and  other  property  to  destruction  to  you  may 
appear  a  perfectly  amiable,  peaceful,  unprovoking  procedure, 
but  it  does  not  appear  so  to  us.  So  to  call  such  an  act  to  us 
appears  no  other  than  a  naked,  impudent  absurdity,  and  we 
speak  of  it  accordingly.  But  if,  when  the  war  had  begun 
and  had  become  the  cause  of  the  country,  the  giving  of  our 
money  and  our  blood,  in  common  with  yours,  was  support  of 
the  war,  then  it  is  not  true  that  we  have  always  opposed  the 

On  another  occasion  Mr.  Lincoln  said  that  the  claim  that 
the  Mexican  War  was  not  aggressive  reminded  him  of  the 
farmer  who  asserted,  "  I  ain't  greedy  'bout  land,  I  only  just 
wants  what  jines  mine." 


Note  3.     Page  27,  line  19,  after  the  word  "  possession." 

Mr.  Lincoln  felt  deeply  the  responsibility  of  his  great 
trust;  and  he  felt  still  more  keenly  the  supposed  impossibil- 
ity of  administering  the  government  for  the  sole  benefit  of 
an  organization,  which  had  no  existence  in  one-half  of  the 
Union.  He  was  therefore  willing,  not  only  to  appoint  Demo- 
crats to  office,  but  to  appoint  them  to  the  very  highest  offices 
within  his  gift.  At  this  time  he  thought  very  highly  of  Mr. 
Stephens  of  Georgia,  and  would  gladly  have  taken  him  into 
his  cabinet  but  for  the  fear  that  Georgia  might  secede,  and 
take  Mr.  Stephens  along  with  her.  He  commissioned 
Thurlow  Weed  to  place  a  seat  in  the  Cabinet  at  the  disposal 
of  Mr.  Gilmore  of  North  Carolina  ;  but  Mr.  Gilmore,  finding 
that  his  state  was  likely  to  secede,  was  reluctantly  compelled 
to  decline  it.  I  had  thought  that  Mr.  Lincoln  had  author- 
ized his  friend  Mr.  Speed  to  offer  the  Treasury  Department 
to  Mr.  Guthrie  of  Kentucky.  Mr.  Speed  writes  of  this  in- 
cident in  a  letter  to  me  dated  June  24,  1872. 

In  one  instance  I  find  a  palpable  mistake.  It  is  in  regard  to 
a  tender  to  Mr.  Guthrie  through  me  of  a  position  in  his  Cabinet 
The  history  of  that  transaction  was  about  this :  I  met  Mr.  Lincoln 
by  appointment  in  Chicago  after  his  election  but  before  he  had 
gone  to  Washington.  He  seemed  very  anxious  to  avoid  blood- 
shed and  said  that  he  would  do  almost  anything  saving  the  sacri- 
fice of  personal  honor  and  the  dignity  of  the  position  to  which  he 
had  been  elevated  to  avoid  war. 

He  asked  about  Mr.  Guthrie  and  spoke  of  him  as  a  suitable 
man  for  Secretary  of  War.  He  asked  very  particularly  as  to  his 
strength  with  the  people  and  if  I  knew  him  well  enough  to  say 
•what  would  be  his  course  in  the  event  of  war.  I  frankly  gave  my 
opinion  as  to  what  I  thought  would  be  his  course  —  which  is  not 
necessary  here  to  repeat.  He  requested  me  to  see  Mr.  Guthrie. 
But  by  all  means  to  be  guarded  and  not  to  give  any  man  the 
advantage  of  the  tender  of  a  Cabinet  appointment  to  be  declined 
by  an  insulting  letter.  I  did  see  Mr.  Guthrie  and  never  tendered 
him  any  office  for  I  was  not  authorized  to  do  so.  This  is  a  very 
different  thing  from  being  authorized  to  tender  an  appointment. 

Yours  truly 

J.  F.  SPF.FD. 

NOTES.  287 

When  Mr.  Lincoln  was  asked  during  conferences  incident 
to  making  up  his  cabinet  if  it  was  just  or  wise  to  concede 
so  many  seats  to  the  Democratic  element  of  the  Republican 
party  he  replied  that  as  a  Whig  he  thought  he  could  afford 
to  be  liberal  to  a  section  of  the  Republican  party  without 
whose  votes  he  could  not  have  been  elected. 

Note  4.    Page  49,  line  5,  after  the  word  "  fealty." 

When  Mr.  Lincoln  was  being  importuned  to  appoint  to 
his  Cabinet  another  man  from  Maryland  rather  than  Mr. 
Blair,  he  said  laughingly:  "Maryland  must,  I  think,  be  a 
good  State  to  move  from,"  and  then  told  a  story  of  a  witness 
who  on  being  asked  his  age  replied,  "  Sixty."  Being  satis- 
fied that  he  was  much  older,  the  judge  repeated  the  question, 
and  on  receiving  the  same  answer,  admonished  the  witness, 
saying  that  the  Court  knew  him  to  be  much  older  than  sixty. 
"  Oh,"  said  the  witness,  "you're  thinking  about  that  fifteen 
years  that  I  lived  down  on  eastern  shore  of  Maryland ;  that 
was  so  much  lost  time  and  don't  count." 

Note  5.     Page  78,  line  7,  after  the  word  "  brute." 

That  neither  section  had  the  monopoly  of  all  the  vir- 
tues reminds  us  of  the  conversation  between  General  Butler 
and  a  gentleman  from  Georgia  in  1861,  when  the  latter  said, 
"  I  do  not  believe  there  is  an  honest  man  in  Massachusetts." 
After  a  moment's  reflection  he  added :  "  I  beg  to  assure  you, 
Mr.  Butler,  I  mean  nothing  personal."  The  General  re- 
sponded :  "  I  believe  there  are  a  great  many  honest  men  in 
Georgia;  but  in  saying  so,  sir,  I  too  mean  nothing  personal." 

Note  6.     Page  174,  line  n,  after  the  word  "period." 

The  words  of  Clark  E.  Carr  are  entitled  to  credit,  for  no 
one  present  had  more  at  heart  than  he  the  success  of  these 
ceremonies  —  he  being  one  of  the  original  commissioners 
comprising  the  board  that  purchased  this,  the  first  ground 
set  apart  for  a  national  cemetery  for  our  soldiers.  He  was  on 
the  platform  from  which  Mr.  Lincoln  spoke,  He  says  in  his 


"  Lincoln  at  Gettysburg  "  that,  "  Before  the  great  multitude 
of  people  could  prepare  themselves  to  listen  intelligently,  be- 
fore their  thoughts  had  become  sufficiently  centred  upon  the 
speaker  to  take  up  his  line  of  thought  and  follow  him,  he 
had  finished  and  returned  to  his  seat.  So  short  a  time  [only 
about  three  minutes]  was  Mr.  Lincoln  before  them  that  the 
people  could  scarcely  believe  their  eyes  when  he  disappeared 
from  their  view.  They  could  not  possibly  in  so  short  a  time 
mentally  grasp  the  ideas  that  were  conveyed.  Many  persons 
said  to  me  that  they  would  have  supposed  that  on  such  a 
great  occasion  the  President  would  have  made  a  speech. 
Every  one  thought  he  made  only  a  very  few  "  dedicatory 
remarks."  Mr.  Carr  further  says  that  the  general  impression 
was  that  the  remarks  consisted  of  "a  dozen  commonplace 
sentences  scarcely  one  of  which  contained  anything  new, 
anything  that  when  stated  was  not  self-evident." 

Note  7.     Page  199,  last  line,  after  the  word  "  quality." 

While  reading  over  some  of  the  appealing  telegrams 
sent  to  the  War  Department  by  General  McClellan,  Lin- 
coln said,  "  It  seems  to  me  that  McClellan  has  been  wander- 
ing around  and  has  got  lost.  He 's  been  hollering  for  help 
ever  since  he  went  south  —  wants  somebody  to  come  to  his 
deliverance  and  get  him  out  of  the  place  he 's  got  into.  He 
reminds  me  of  the  story  of  a  man  out  in  Illinois,  who,  in 
company  with  a  number  of  friends,  visited  the  state  peniten- 
tiary. They  wandered  all  through  the  institution  and  saw 
everything,  but  just  about  the  time  to  depart,  this  man  be- 
came separated  from  his  friends  and  could  n't  find  his  way 
out.  At  last  he  came  across  a  convict  who  was  looking  out 
from  between  the  bars  of  his  cell  door ;  he  hastily  asked : 
"  Say  !  How  do  you  get  out  of  this  place  ?  " 
Note  8.  Page  203,  line  14,  after  the  word  "patriotism." 

Whether  the  act  proved  his  wisdom  or  not,  the  result 
certainly  sustained  and  justified  his  course;  the  proceeding 

NOTES.  289 

at  least  exemplified  his  firmness  and  determination  in  des- 
perate emergencies.  There  is  perhaps  no  act  recorded  in 
our  history  that  demanded  greater  courage  or  more  heroic 

In  a  conversation  with  me  shortly  after  this  Mr.  Lincoln 
said,  "  Well,  I  suppose  our  victory  at  Antietam  will  condone 
my  offence  in  reappointing  McClellan.  If  the  battle  had 
gone  against  us  poor  McClellan  (and  I  too)  would  be  in  a 
bad  row  of  stumps." 

Had  not  the  tide  of  success  and  victory  turned  in  our 
favor  about  this  time,  there  is  little  doubt  that  Mr.  Lincoln 
would  have  been  deposed  and  a  military  dictatorship  erected 
upon  the  ruins  of  his  administration.  The  victory  at  Antie- 
tam was,  without  doubt,  the  turning  point  for  fame  or  for 
downfall  in  the  career  of  Mr.  Lincoln. 

Note  9.     Page  208,  line  3,  after  the  word  "  McClellan." 

WASHINGTON,  April  13,  1888. 

MY  DEAR  MARSHAL  LAMON,  —  I  received  the  proof  sheet  of 
your  article  enclosed  in  your  note  of  the  8th.  I  have  read  it  very 
carefully  and  I  find  the  facts  as  stated  are  correct. 

Mr.  F.  P.  Blair,  Senior,  told  me  the  incident  of  conyeying  in 
person  President  Lincoln's  letter  to  McClellan. 

I  liked  McClellan,  but  I  have  always  believed  he  was  politically 
slaughtered  in  the  house  of  his  alleged  friends. 

Yours  truly, 


Note  10.    Page  219,  last  line,  after  the  word  "  subject." 

At  a  cabinet  meeting,  the  advisability  of  putting  a  motto 
on  greenbacks  similar  to  the  "  In  God  We  Trust "  on 
the  silver  coins  was  discussed  and  the  President  was  asked 
what  his  view  was.  He  replied,  "if  you  are  going  to  put  a 
motto  on  the  greenback,  I  would  suggest  that  of  Peter  and 
John :  '  Silver  and  gold  we  have  not,  but  what  we  have  we'll 
give  you.' " 


Note  n.     Page  235,  line  25,  after  the  word  "  God." 

John  W.  Crisfield  served  in  Congress  with  Mr.  Lincoln 
in  1847  and  was  a  warm  friend  of  Lincoln.  Being  elected 
again  as  Representative  in  1861,  he  was  in  Congress  when 
the  proposition  was  made  for  gradual  emancipation  in  the 
border  states  by  paying  the  loyal  owners  for  their  slaves. 
Mr.  Crisfield  was  on  the  committee  that  was  to  draft  the 
reply  to  this  proposition.  When  he  was  at  the  White  House 
one  day  in  July,  1862,  Mr.  Lincoln  said:  "Well,  Crisfield, 
how  are  you  getting  along  with  your  report,  have  you  writ- 
ten  it  yet?  "  Mr.  Crisfield  replied  that  he  had  not.  Mr.  Lin- 
coln—  knowing  that  the  Emancipation  Proclamation  was 
coming,  in  fact  was  then  only  two  months  away  —  said, 
"  You  had  better  come  to  an  agreement.  Niggers  will  never 
be  higher." 

Note  12.    Page  275,  line  5,  after  the  word  "  fac-simile." 

Apropos  of  passes  to  Richmond  once  when  a  man  called 
upon  the  President  and  solicited  a  pass  to  Richmond.  Mr. 
Lincoln  said :  "  Well,  I  would  be  very  happy  to  oblige, 
if  my  passes  were  respected ;  but  the  fact  is,  sir,  I  have, 
within  the  past  two  years,  given  passes  to  250,000  men  to  go 
to  Richmond  and  not  one  has  got  there  yet." 



R.  LINCOLN  believed  that :  "He  who  knows  only 
his  own  side  of  a  case  knows  little  of  that."  The 
first  illustration  of  his  peculiar  mental  operations  which  led 
him  always  to  study  the  opposite  side  of  every  disputed 
question  more  exhaustively  than  his  own,  was  on  his  first 
appearance  before  the  Supreme  Court  of  Illinois  when  he 
actually  opened  his  argument  by  telling  the  court  that 
after  diligent  search  he  had  not  found  a  single  decision  in 
favor  of  his  case  but  several  against  it,  which  he  then 
cited,  and  submitted  his  case.  This  may  have  been 
what  Mr.  Lincoln  alluded  to  when  he  told  Thurlow  Weed 
that  the  people  used  to  say,  without  disturbing  his  self- 
respect,  that  he  was  not  lawyer  enough  to  hurt  him. 

The  most  important  case  Mr.  Lincoln  ever  argued  be- 
fore the  Supreme  Court  was  the  celebrated  case  of  the 
Illinois  Central  Railroad  Company  vs.  McLean  County. 

The  case  was  argued  twice  before  this  tribunal ;  one 
brief  of  which  is  among  the  forty  pages  of  legal  manu- 
script written  by  Mr.  Lincoln  in  the  writer's  possession. 


While  its  four  pages  may  have  more  historic  value  than  a 
will  case  argued  in  the  Circuit  Court  of  Sangamon  County, 
still  the  latter  is  chosen  to  illustrate  the  period  of  Mr. 
Lincoln's  mature  practice  and  to  show  his  analytical 
methods,  his  original  reasoning,  and  his  keen  sense  of 

The  case  is  one  wherein  land  has  been  left  to  three 
sons  and  a  grandson  and  the  personal  estate  to  be  divided 
among  three  daughters  after  the  death  of  the  widow. 
Mr.  Lincoln  is  employed  to  defend  the  will  against  the 
three  daughters  and  their  husbands. 

The  brief  consists  of  fifteen  pages  of  legal  cap  paper 
only  four  of  which  are  here  given. 

It  is  said  that  he  wrote  few  papers,  less  perhaps  than 
any  other  man  at  the  bar ;  therefore  this  memorandum  in 
his  own  hand  is  also  valuable  as  an  example  of  the  notes 
he  so  rarely  made. 


^u  / 










7  /"•— 



Then  a  copy  of  the  will  and  the  evidence  of  sixteen 
witnesses,  after  which  the  following  page  of  authorities  :  — 


&,   "*&>, 

One  of  the  opposing  attorneys  in  the  case  was  Mr. 
Lincoln's  former  law  partner,  Judge  Stephen  T.  Logan, 
who  was  the  acknowledged  leader  of  the  Illinois  Bar  for 
many  years  and  from  whom  Mr.  Lincoln  derived  more 
benefit  than  from  any  other.f 

*  This  was  evidently  written  twice  by  Mr.  Lincoln  for  it  seems 
to  be  the  corrected  page  of  one  in  the  Collection  of  General 
Orendorff.  This  corrected  page  has  not  the  first  allegation 
found  in  the  rough  draft :  "  The  widow  of  the  testator  is  not  a 
competent  witness,  n  Hump.  565." 

t  Mr.  Lincoln's  first  partner,  John  T.  Stuart,  enjoyed  telling  of 
his  own  arrival  in  Springfield  in  1828  from  Kentucky;  how  the 
next  morning  he  was  standing  in  front  of  the  village  store  wonder- 
ing how  to  introduce  himself  to  the  community,  when  a  well- 
dressed  old  gentleman  approached  him,  who,  interesting  himself 
in  his  welfare,  inquired  after  his  history  and  business.  "  I  am 
from  Kentucky,"  answered  Mr.  Stuart,  "and  my  profession  is  that 
of  a  lawyer,  sir.  What  is  the  prospect  here  ? "  Throwing  back  his 
head  and  closing  his  left  eye.  the  old  gentleman  reflected  a  mo- 
ment, then  replied  :  "  Young  man,  d slim  chance  for  that  kind 

of  a  combination  here." 



Was  Mr.  Lincoln's  experience  at  the  bar  a  mere  epi- 
sode in  his  wonderful  career,  or  was  it  the  foundation  upon 
which  rested  the  whole  structure  of  that  career?  He  said 
himself  that  "  Law  is  the  greatest  science  of  man.  It  is 

That  there  was  a  chance  for  that  combination  in  Springfield  has 
been  most  conclusively  proven.  Lincoln's  three  law  partners  at 
that  place  as  well  as  himself  were  all  from  Kentucky,  to  say  noth- 
ing of  other  prominent  members  of  the  bar  of  Springfield  who 
came  from  the  Blue  Grass  state. 


the  best  profession  to  develop  the  logical  faculty  and  the 
highest  platform  on  which  man  can  exhibit  his  powers  of 
well  trained  manhood." 


Mr.  Lincoln  found  in  the  Declaration  of  Inde- 
pendence his  perfect  standard  of  political  truth  is 
perhaps  in  none  of  his  utterances  more  conclusively  shown 
than  in  a  private  letter  to  his  old  friend  Joshua  F.  Speed, 
written  in  1855,  in  which  he  says  :  "You  enquire  where  I 
now  stand.  That  is  a  disputed  point.  I  think  I  am  a 
Whig  ;  but  others  say  there  are  no  Whigs,  and  that  I  am 
an  Abolitionist.  I  am  not  a  Know-Nothing  !  that  is  cer- 
tain. How  could  I  be  ?  How  can  anyone  who  abhors  the 
oppression  of  negroes  be  in  favor  of  degrading  classes  of 
white  people?  Our  progress  in  degeneracy  appears  to 
me  to  be  pretty  rapid.  As  a  nation  we  began  by  declar- 
ing that  '  All  men  are  created  equal?  We  now  practi- 
cally read  it,  '  All  men  are  created  equal  except  negroes.' 
When  the  Know-Nothings  get  control  it  will  read,  '  All 
men  are  created  equal,  except  negroes  and  foreigners 
and  Catholics.'  When  it  comes  to  this,  I  should  prefer 
emigrating  to  some  country  where  they  make  no  pretence 
of  loving  liberty,  —  where  despotism  can  be  taken  pure, 
and  without  the  base  alloy  of  hypocrisy." 


NEW  YORK,  March  20,  1872. 

MY  DEAR  SIR,  —  ...  I  send  you  for  such  use  as  you 
may  deem  proper  the  following  letter  written  by  me  when  at 
"  Old  Orchard  Beach  "  a  few  years  ago,  giving  the  "  truth 
of  history  "  in  relation  to  the  address  of  Mr.  Lincoln  at  the 
Cooper  Institute  in  this  City  on  the  27th  of  February, 
1860.  .  .  . 

.  .  .  We,  the  world,  and  all  the  coming  generation  of 
mankind  down  the  long  line  of  ages,  cannot  know  too  much 
about  Abraham  Lincoln,  our  martyr  President 

Yours  truly, 
(Signed)  JAMES  A.  BRIGGS. 


"In  October,  1859,  Messrs.  Joseph  H.  Richards,  J.  M. 
Pettingill,  and  S.  W.  Tubbs  called  on  me  at  the  office  of  the 
Ohio  State  Agency,  25  William  Street,  and  requested  me  to 
write  to  the  Hon.  Thomas  Corwin,  of  Ohio,  and  the  Hon. 
Abraham  Lincoln,  of  Illinois,  and  invite  them  to  lecture  in 
a  course  of  lectures  these  young  gentlemen  proposed  for  the 
winter  in  Plymouth  Church,  Brooklyn. 

"  I  wrote  the  letters  as  requested,  and  offered  as  compen- 
sation for  each  lecture,  as  I  was  authorized,  the  sum  of  two 
hundred  dollars.  The  proposition  to  lecture  was  accepted 


by  Messrs.  Corwin  and  Lincoln.  Mr.  Corwin  delivered  his 
lecture  in  Plymouth  Church  as  he  was  on  his  way  to  Wash- 
ington to  attend  Congress.  Mr.  Lincoln  could  not  lecture 
until  late  in  the  season,  and  a  proposition  was  agreed  to  by 
the  gentlemen  named,  and  accepted  by  Mr.  Lincoln,  as  the 
following  letter  will  show  :  — 

DANVILLE,  ILL.,  November  13,  1859. 
JAMES  A.  BRIGGS,  Esq.  : 

DEAR  SIR,  —  Yours  of  the  ist,  closing  with  my  proposi- 
tion for  compromise,  was  duly  received.  I  will  be  on  hand, 
and  in  due  time  will  notify  you  of  the  exact  day.  I  believe, 
after  all,  I  shall  make  a  political  speech  of  it.  You  have  no 
objection  ? 

I  would  like  to  know  in  advance,  whether  I  am  also  to 
speak  or  lecture  in  New  York. 
Very,  very  glad  your  election  went  right. 

Yours  truly, 


P.  S.  I  am  here  at  court,  but  my  address  is  still  at 
Springfield,  111. 

"  In  due  time  Mr.  Lincoln  wrote  me  that  he  would  deliver 
the  lecture,  a  political  one,  on  the  evening  of  the  27th  of 
February,  1860.  This  was  rather  late  in  the  season  for  a 
lecture,  and  the  young  gentlemen  who  were  responsible  were 
doubtful  about  its  success,  as  the  expenses  were  large.  It 
was  stipulated  that  the  lecture  was  to  be  in  Plymouth 
Church,  Brooklyn.  I  requested  and  urged  that  the  lecture 
should  be  delivered  at  the  Cooper  Institute.  They  were 
fearful  it  would  not  pay  expenses  — three  hundred  and  fifty 
dollars.  I  thought  it  would. 

"  In  order  to  relieve  Messrs.  Richards,  Pettingill,  and 
Tubbs  of  all  responsibility,  I  called  upon  some  of  the  officers 


of  the  '  Young  Men's  Republican  Union '  and  proposed  that 
they  should  take  Mr.  Lincoln,  and  that  the  lecture  should  be 
delivered  under  their  auspices.  They  respectfully  declined. 

"  I  next  called  upon  Mr.  Simeon  Draper,  then  President 
of  'The  Draper  Republican  Union  Club  of  New  York,' 
and  proposed  to  him  that  his  '  Union '  take  Mr.  Lincoln  and 
the  lecture,  and  assume  the  responsibility  of  the  expenses. 
Mr.  Draper  and  his  friends  declined,  and  Mr.  Lincoln  was 
left  in  the  hands  of  '  the  original  Jacobs.' 

M  After  considerable  discussion,  it  was  agreed  on  the  part 
of  the  young  gentlemen  that  the  lecture  should  be  delivered 
in  the  Cooper  Institute,  if  I  would  agree  to  share  the  ex- 
penses, if  the  sale  of  tickets  (twenty-five  cents  each)  for  the 
lecture  did  not  meet  the  outlay.  To  this  I  assented,  and  the 
lecture  was  advertised  to  be  delivered  in  the  Cooper  Insti- 
tute on  the  evening  of  the  2/th  of  February,  1860. 

"  Mr.  Lincoln  read  the  notice  of  the  lecture  in  the  papers 
and,  without  any  knowledge  of  the  arrangement,  was  some- 
what surprised  to  learn  that  he  was  first  to  make  his  appear- 
ance before  a  New  York  instead  of  a  '  Plymouth  Church ' 
audience.  A  notice  of  the  proposed  lecture  appeared  in  the 
New  York  papers,  and  the  '  Times '  spoke  of  him  'as  a  lawyer 
who  had  some  local  reputation  in  Illinois.' 

"  At  my  personal  solicitation  Mr.  William  Cullen  Bryant 
presided  as  chairman  of  the  meeting,  and  introduced  Mr. 
Lincoln  for  the  first  time  to  a  New  York  audience. 

"  The  lecture  was  over,  all  the  expenses  were  paid,  I  was 
handed  by  the  gentlemen  interested  the  sum  of  $4.25  as  my 
share  of  the  profits,  as  they  would  have  called  on  me  if  there 
had  been  a  deficiency  in  the  receipts  to  meet  expenses." 

[Mr.  Briggs  received  as  his  share  of  the  profits  $4.25. 
What  the  country  profited  by  this,  Mr.  Lincoln's  first  tri- 
umph outside  of  his  own  state,  has  never  been  computed.] 

C.  P  MtftUUMAN.  \ 
F.  J.  BRIUGS,  / 

BLOOMLNGTON,  WEDNESDAY,  JULY  11, 1860.         £ 

Republican     Nominations. 







IIO.\,     OWi:\     LOVE  JOT. 

V  -  .  —  '  .        '  ,         ! 

State  Officers. 









Presidential    Elector*.  •§  t 

u  § 

AT  LARGE.  _  U 

LEONARD  SWETT of  McLean.         c  -a 

JOHN  M.  PALMJER of  Macoupin.         rt    B 

DISTRICT.  §    a; 

First A.  C.  FULLER of  Boone.  J>  3 

Second WM.  B.  PLATO „ ..of  Kane.  £  m 

Third LAWRENCE  WELDON of  De  Witt 

Fourth WM.  P.  KELLOGG of  Fulton.  *    2 

Fifth J.  STARK of  Hancock.  .•  *• 

Sixth J.  C.  CONK  LI  NO of  SanRamon.  <5    * 

Seventh H.  P.  H.  BKOMMELL _ of  Coles.  •*  •*=• 

>:i.'hth.:..;....T.  G.  A\LK» of  Knndolpb.  rf  >> 

Ninth JOHN  OLNEV of  Gallatin.  ~  "5 

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County  Ticket. 

— —                  .                                 |  y 


FOK  CLKKK  of  Circuit  Court WM.  M'CULIjOPGH.  S 







TT  has  been  said  that  the  term  "rail-splitter"  which 
became  a  leading  feature  of  the  campaign  in  1860 
originated  at  the  Chicago  convention  when  Mr.  Deland  of 
Ohio,  who  seconded  the  nomination  of  Mr.  Lincoln,  said : 
"  I  desire  to  second  the  nomination  of  a  man  who  can 
split  rails  and  maul  Democrats." 

Mr.  Delano  not  only  seconded  the  nomination,  but 
"seconded  "  the  campaign  "cry." 

Gov.  Oglesby  one  week  before  at  the  State  Convention  at 
Decatur  introduced  into  the  assemblage  John  Hanks,  who 
bore  on  his  shoulder  two  small  rails  surmounted  by  a 


banner  with  this  inscription  :  "  Two  rails  from  a  lot  made 
by  Abraham  Lincoln  and  John  Hanks  in  the  Sangamon 
Bottom  in  the  year  1830." 

For  six  months  Rail-splitter  was  heard  everywhere  and 
rails  were  to  be  seen  on  nearly  everything,  even  on 
stationery.  One  of  the  Lincoln  delegates  said  :  "  These 
rails  represent  the  issue  between  labor  free  and  labor 
slave,  between  democracy  and  aristocracy." 

The  Democrats  disliked  to  hear  so  much  about  "  honest 
Old  Abe,"  "the  rail-splitter"  the  " flatboatman,"  "the 
pioneer."  These  cries  had  an  ominous  sound  in  their  ears. 
Just  after  the  State  Convention  which  named  Lincoln  as 
first  choice  of  the  Republicans  of  Illinois,  an  old  man, 
devoted  to  the  principles  of  Democracy  and  much 
annoyed  by  the  demonstration  in  progress,  approached 
Mr.  Lincoln  and  said,  "So  you're  Abe  Lincoln?"  — 
"  That 's  my  name,  sir,  "  answered  Mr.  Lincoln.  "  They 
say  you  're  a  self-made  man, "  said  the  Democrat.  "  Well, 
yes,"  said  Lincoln,  "  what  there  is  of  me  is  self-made."  — 
"  Well,  all  I  've  got  to  say,"  observed  the  old  man  after 
a  careful  survey  of  the  statesman  before  him,  "  is  that  it 
was  a bad  job." 


ON  the  temperance  question  Mr.  Lincoln  has  been 
quoted  by  the  adherents  of  both  sides.  He  had 
no  taste  for  spirituous  liquors  and  when  he  took  them  it 
was  a  punishment  to  him,  not  an  indulgence.  In  a  tem- 
perance lecture  delivered  in  1842  Mr.  Lincoln  said:  — 
"  In  my  judgment  such  of  us  as  have  never  fallen  victims 
have  been  spared  more  from  the  absence  of  appetite 
than  from  any  mental  or  moral  superiority  over  those  who 
have.  Indeed,  I  believe  if  we  take  habitual  drunkards 
as  a  class  their  heads  and  their  hearts  will  bear  an  advan- 
tageous comparison  with  those  of  any  other  class." 

None  of  his  nearest  associates  ever  saw  Mr.  Lincoln 
voluntarily  call  for  a  drink  but  many  times  they  saw  him 
take  whiskey  with  a  little  sugar  in  it  to  avoid  the  appear- 
ance of  discountenancing  it  to  his  friends.  If  he  could 
have  avoided  it  without  giving  offence  he  would  gladly 
have  done  so.  He  was  a  conformist  to  the  conventionali- 
ties of  the  surroundings  in  which  he  was  placed. 

Whether  Mr.  Lincoln  sold  liquor  by  the  dram  over  the 
counter  of  the  grocery  store  kept  by  himself  and  Berry 

will  forever  remain  an  undetermined  question.     When 



Douglas  revived  the  story  in  one  of  his  debates,  Mr. 
Lincoln  replied  that  even  if  it  were  true,  there  was  but 
little  difference  between  them,  for  while  he  figured  on  one 
side  of  the  counter  Douglas  figured  on  the  other. 

Mr.  Lincoln  disliked  sumptuary  laws  and  would  not 
prescribe  by  statute  what  other  men  should  eat  or  drink. 
When  the  temperance  men  ran  to  the  Legislature  to  in- 
voke the  power  of  the  state,  his  voice  —  the  most  elo- 
quent among  them  —  was  silent.  He  did  not  oppose 
them,  but  quietly  withdrew  from  the  cause  and  left  others 
to  manage  it. 

In  1854  he  was  induced  to  join  the  order  called  Sons 
of  Temperance,  but  never  attended  a  single  meeting  after 
the  one  at  which  he  was  initiated. 

Judge  Douglas  once  undertook  to  ridicule  Mr.  Lincoln 
on  not  drinking.  "  What,  are  you  a  temperance  man?" 
he  inquired.  "  No,"  replied  Lincoln,  "  I  am  not  a  tem- 
perance man  but  I  am  temperate  in  this,  to  wit :  I  don't 

He  often  used  to  say  that  drinking  spirits  was  to  him 
like  thinking  of  spiritualism,  he  wanted  to  steer  clear  of 
both  evils;  by  frequent  indulgence  he  might  acquire  a 
dangerous  taste  for  the  spirit  and  land  in  a  drunkard's 
grave ;  by  frequent  thought  of  spiritualism  he  might 
become  a  confirmed  believer  in  it  and  land  in  a  lunatic 

In  1889  Miss  Kate  Field  wrote  W.  H.  Lamon  saying :  — 

Will  you  kindly  settle  a  dispute  about  Lincoln  ?  Lately  in 
Pennsylvania  I  quoted  Lincoln  to  strengthen  my  argument 


against  Prohibition,  and  now  the  W.  C.  T.  U.  quote  him  for 
the  other  side.     What  is  the  truth  ? 

...  As  you  are  the  best  of  authority  on  the  subject  of 
Abraham  Lincoln,  can  you  explain  why  he  is  quoted  on  the 
Prohibition  side  ?  Did  he  at  any  time  make  speeches  that 
could  be  construed  with  total  abstinence  ? 

To  this  Lamon  replied :  — 

You  ask  my  recollection  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  views  on  the 
question  of  Temperance  and  Prohibition.  I  looked  upon 
him  as  one  of  the  safest  temperance  men  I  ever  knew. 
He  seemed  on  this  subject,  as  he  was  on  most  others,  unique 
in  profession  as  well  as  in  practice.  He  was  neither  what 
might  be  called  a  drinking  man,  a  total  abstainer,  nor  a 
Prohibitionist.  My  acquaintance  with  him  commenced  in 
1847.  He  was  then  and  afterwards  a  politician.  He 
mixed  much  and  well  with  the  people.  Believed  what  the 
people  believed  to  be  right  was  right. 

Society  in  Illinois  at  that  early  day  was  as  crude  as  the 
country  was  uncultivated.  People  then  were  tenacious  of 
their  natural  as  well  as  their  acquired  rights  and  this  state  of 
things  existed  until  Mr.  Lincoln  left  the  State  to  assume  the 
duties  of  President.  The  people  of  Illinois  firmly  believed 
it  was  one  of  their  inalienable  rights  to  manufacture,  sell,  and 
drink  whiskey  as  it  was  the  sacred  right  of  the  southern  man 
to  rear,  work,  and  whip  his  own  nigger,  —  and  woe  be  unto 
him  who  attempted  to  interfere  with  these  rights  —  (as  the 
sequel  afterwards  showed  when  Mr.  Lincoln  and  his  friends 
tried  to  prevent  the  southern  man  from  whipping  his  own 
nigger  in  the  territories). 

I  heard  Mr.  Lincoln  deliver  several  temperance  lectures. 
One  evening  in  Danville,  111.,  he  happened  in  at  a  temperance 
meeting,  the  "Old  Washingtonian  Society,"  I  think,  and 
was  called  on  to  make  a  speech.  He  got  through  it  well, 


after  which  he  and  other  members  of  the  Bar  who  were 
present  were  invited  to  an  entertainment  at  the  house  of  Dr. 
Scott.  Wine  and  cake  were  handed  around.  Mrs.  Scott, 
in  handing  Mr.  Lincoln  a  glass  of  homemade  wine,  said,  "  I 
hope  you  are  not  a  teetotaler,  Mr.  Lincoln,  if  you  are  a  tem- 
perance lecturer."  "By  no  means,  my  dear  madam,"  he  re- 
plied; "for  I  do  assure  you  (with  a  humorous  smile)  I 
am  very  fond  of  my  '  Todd '  (a  play  upon  his  wife's 
maiden  name).  I  by  no  means  oppose  the  use  of  wine.  I 
only  regret  that  it  is  not  more  in  universal  use.  I  firmly 
believe  if  our  people  were  to  habitually  drink  wine,  there 
would  be  little  drunkenness  in  the  country."  In  the  conver- 
sation which  afterward  became  general,  Judge  David  Davis, 
Hon.  Leonard  Swett,  and  others  present  joining  in  the  discus- 
sion, I  recollect  his  making  this  remark :  "  I  am  an  apostle  of 
temperance  only  to  the  extent  of  coercing  moderate  indul- 
gence and  prohibiting  excesses  by  all  the  moral  influences  I 
can  bring  to  bear." 


T)ERHAPS  no  act  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  administration 
J-  showed  his  political  shrewdness  more  clearly  than 
the  permission  he  gave  for  the  rebel  legislature  of  Virginia 
to  meet  for  the  purpose  of  recalling  the  state  troops  from 
General  Lee's  Army.  This  permission  was  given  in  a 
note  to  General  Weitzel.  Mr.  Lincoln  told  Governor 
Francis  H.  Pierpont  that  "  its  composition  occupied  five 
hours  of  intense  mental  activity."  Governor  Pierpont  says 
he  was  the  loyal  Governor  of  Virginia  at  the  time,  and 
Mr.  Lincoln  deemed  it  necessary  to  say  something  to  him 
about  so  extraordinary  a  measure  as  permitting  the  rebel 
legislature  to  assemble  when  a  loyal  legislature  with  a 
loyal  governor  was  in  existence  and  was  recognized  by  the 
federal  government"  Mr.  Lincoln's  note  to  General  Weit- 
zel read :  — 

"  It  has  been  intimated  to  me  that  the  gentlemen  who 
have  acted  as  the  legislature  of  Virginia  in  support  of  the 
rebellion  may  now  desire  to  assemble  at  Richmond  and 
take  measures  to  withdraw  the  Virginia  troops  and  other 
support  from  resistance  to  the  general  government.  If 
they  attempt  it,  give  them  permission  and  protection  until, 


if  at  all,  they  attempt  some  action  hostile  to  the  United 
States,  in  which  case  you  will  notify  them,  give  them 
reasonable  time  to  leave,  and  at  the  end  of  which  time 
arrest  any  who  remain.  Allow  Judge  Campbell  to  see 
this,  but  do  not  make  it  public." 

To  write  this  note  occupied  all  Mr.  Lincoln's  time 
from  9  P.  M.  till  2  A.  M.  —  "  five  hours  of  uninterrupted 

Mr.  Lincoln  foresaw  that  an  attempt  would  be  made  to 
construe  his  permission  into  a  virtual  recognition  of  the 
authority  of  the  rebel  legislature.  He  steered  clear  of 
this  recognition  by  not  speaking  of  them  "  as  a  legislature," 
but  as,  "  the  gentlemen  who  have  acted  as  the  legislature  of 
Virginia  in  support  of  rebellion,"  and  explained  afterward 
when  it  was  misconstrued,  that  he  "  did  this  on  purpose 
to  exclude  the  assumption  that  I  was  recognizing  them 
as  a  rightful  body.  I  dealt  with  them  as  men  having 
power  de  facto  to  do  a  specific  thing." 


FAIRFIELD,  CONN.,  Jan.  9,  1861. 
W.  H.  LAMON,  Esq. : 

DEAR  SIR, — Yours  of  December  26th  duly  received. 
Connecticut  is  death  on  secession.  I  regard  it  the  duty  of 
the  Government  to  uphold  its  authority  in  the  courts  as 
effectually  south  as  it  has  done  north  if  it  can,  and  to  hold 
its  forts  and  public  grounds  at  whatever  cost  ard  collect  the 
revenue  ditto.  There  is  but  one  feeling  here,  I  believe, 
though  in  the  city  of  New  York  there  are  those  who  sustain 
her  actions,  that  secession  is  disgraceful  as  well  as  ruinous 
on  the  part  of  South  Carolina.  I  glory  in  Lincoln  now  for 
I  feel  that  he  is  the  most  suitable  man  of  our  party  for  this 
terrible  ordeal  through  which  he  has  to  pass.  I  rely  with 
entire  confidence  upon  his  urbanity,  gentleness,  goodness, 
and  ability  to  convince  his  enemies  of  his  perfect  uprightness 
as  well  as  his  firmness  and  courage.  I  do  not  expect  him  to 
be  as  warlike  as  Jackson,  but  I  look  for  the  calm  courage 
befitting  a  Judge  on  the  bench.  With  Lincoln  as  President 
and  Scott  as  Lieutenant-General,  I  have  no  fears  but  the 
dignity  of  the  Government  will  be  sustained  after  the  4th  of 
March.  What  is  being  done  to  protect  Lincoln  personally 
at  Washington  before  and  after  Inauguration  ?  Is  there  not 
a  propriety  in  some  of  his  friends  making  it  their  especial 
business  to  escort  him  without  even  his  knowing  it  ?  You 
know  these  Southern  men  better  than  I  do.  If  there  is 
propriety  in  such  a  thing,  or  need  for  it,  rather,  I  would 


meet  you  at  Washington  when  he  goes  on  and  stay  with  you 
while  it  is  needed. 

Yours  truly, 


NEWARK,  OHIO,  Feby.  14,  1861. 

FRIEND  LAMON,  —  I  concluded  to  drop  you  this  note,  on 
learning  that  you  in  company  with  our  mutual  friend  Judge 
Davis  were  with  the  President  Elect  on  his  tour  to  the  Seat 
of  Government.  I  was  led  to  this  through  fear  of  the  failure 
of  some  correspondence  to  reach  your  eye,  the  drift  of  it  was 
to  secure  the  appointment  of  postmaster  at  this  city  for 
your  humble  servant.  Now  if  you  have  not  been  bored  to 
death  already  by  friends  who  are  your  humble  servants,  say 
a  kind  word  for  me.  I  have  asked  for  the  Post  Office  here 
for  some  good  reasons.  Poor  enough  to  ask  it  and  capable 
to  fill  it  ...  and  have  my  second  papers  for  being  Black 
Republican.  I  might  add  that  the  Citizens  would  not  look 
upon  my  appointment  as  an  overt  act  against  this  City.  I 
was  removed  from  the  Post  Office  Dept.  in  1855  f°r  opposi- 
tion to  Judge  Douglas  for  removing  the  Missouri  Compro- 
mise. ...  I  would  beg  to  be  remembered  to  Messrs.  Lincoln 
and  Davis.  Wishing  you  all  a  pleasant  trip,  safe  arrival  and 

a  smooth  sea  in  the  future 

Yours  very  truly, 


The  following  letter  may  be  of  interest  as  showing  the 
impression  made  at  a  time  when  opinions  of  Mr.  Lincoln 
were  in  the  formative  state.  New  York  City,  as  a  whole, 
was  unfriendly  to  Lincoln.  Written  when  Lincoln  was  in 
New  York  on  his  way  to  Washington. 

NEW  YORK,  Feby.  20,  1861. 

DEAR  LAMON,  —  I  was  glad  today  to  recognize  you ;  and 
drop  you  a  line  instead  of  a  call  when  you  must  be  so  weary. 

LETTERS.  313 

Just  before  we  met,  my  father  and  old  Aid"  Purdy  (both 
wheel-horses  in  the  Dem'  party  here)  were  canvassing 
matters  politic.  Purdy  said  he  had  seen  Lincoln  and  liked 
the  man ;  said  he  was  much  better  looking  and  a  finer  man 
than  he  expected  to  see ;  and  that  he  kept  aloof  from  old 
politicians  here  and  seemed  to  have  a  mind  of  his  own.  Old 
Judge  Benson  too  (who  was  with  us)  is  a  Democrat  and  was 
equally  pleased  with  Lincoln.  He  says  Lincoln  has  an  eye 
that  shows  power  of  mind  and  will,  and  he  thinks  he  will 
carry  us  safely. 

I  repeat  these  comments,  because  they  came  from  behind 
the  scenes  of  the  popular  apprehensions  whence  at  present 
our  friend  Lincoln  is  excluded,  and  I  feel  sure  he  will  be 
pleased  to  know  how  favorable  an  impression  he  makes.  .  .  . 

Tell  Lincoln  to  use  his  own  judgment  and  be  bold  and 
firm.  The  people  of  all  parties  here  are  prepared  to  sustain 
him.  But  he  may  beware  of  all  old  politicians  of  both 

Because  he  is  a  fresh  man  and  an  able  one  he  was  taken 
up.  Let  his  freshness  enter  his  policy  also 

Your  friend, 


SPRINGFIELD,    Feb.  22,  1861. 

HILL,  —  This  is  Dick  Gilmer  of  Pike  —  he  is  to  that  neck 
of  Woods  what  you  or  Dick  Oglesby  are  to  this  region  of 
Country.  .  .  .  Do  what  you  can  consistently  for  him  —  and 


Your  friend, 

O.  M.  HATCH. 

BLOOMINGTON  (!LL.),  Feby.  25,  1861. 

DEAR  HILL, —  Nothing  of  moment  has  occurred  since 
your  departure.  Do  write  me  immediately  explaining  the 
cause  of  your  mysterious  transit  through  Maryland. 


Here  let  me  say  a  word  about  Washington.  It  is  the 
worst  place  in  the  world  to  judge  correctly  of  anything.  A 
ship  might  as  well  learn  its  bearings  in  the  Norway  Mael- 
strom, as  for  you  people  to  undertake  to  judge  anything  cor- 
rectly upon  your  arrival  there. 

You  are  the  subject  of  every  artful  and  selfish  appliance. 
You  breathe  an  air  pregnant  with  panic.  You  have  to  decide 
before  you  can  discover  the  secret  springs  of  the  action 
presented  to  you. 

There  is  but  one  rule  and  that  is  to  stand  by  and  adopt  the 
judgment  you  formed  before  you  arrived  there. 

The  atmosphere  of  Washington  and  the  country  are  as 
unlike  as  the  atmosphere  of  Greenland  and  the  tropics. 

The  country  is  moved  and  moves  by  its  judgment  — 
Washington  by  its  artificial  life.  The  country  really  knows 
nothing  of  Washington  and  Washington  knows  nothing  of 
the  country.  Washington  is  drunk,  the  Country  is  sober  and 
the  appeal  from  your  judgment  there  to  your  home  judg- 
ment  is  simply  an  appeal  from  Philip  drunk  to  Philip  sober. 

Please  give  these  ideas  in  better  language  than  I  have 
done  to  Mr.  Lincoln.  I  know  his  sound  home  judgment, 
the  only  thing  I  fear  is  the  bewilderment  of  that  city  of 
rumors.  I  do  ache  to  have  him  do  well. 

Yours  truly, 


WASHINGTON,  March  2,  1861. 

DEAR  SIR,  —  I  have  received  your  request  and  shall  take 
great  pleasure  to  do  what  you  wish  in  respect  to  Delaware. 
Very  truly  your  friend, 


WARD  H.  LAMON,  Esq. 

DANVILLE,  ILL.,  March  5,  1861. 

DEAR  HILL,  —  Have  just  read  Lincoln's  inaugural. — It 
is  just  right  and  pleases  us  much.  Not  a  word  too  much  or 

LETTERS.  315 

too  little.  He  assumes  the  tone  and  temper  of  a  statesman 
of  the  olden  time.  God  bless  him  —  and  keep  him  safely  to 
the  end.  —  Are  you  coming  home  to  see  us  ere  you  depart 
hence?  You  could  unfold  to  us  a  chapter  that  would  be 
spicy,  rich  and  rare. 

We  were  at  first  disposed  to  regret  Lincoln's  hasty  trip 
from  Harrisburgh.  But  the  action  of  the  crowd  at  Balti- 
more convinces  us  that  it  was^the  most  prudent  course  to 

pursue.  .  .  . 

Very  truly  your  friend, 

O.  F.  HARMON. 

ON  BOARD  STEAMER  WARSAW,  March  8,  1861. 

DEAR  LAMON,  —  I  got  home  a  week  ago.  I  have  heard 
a  good  many  things  said  pro  and  con  about  the  new  admin- 
istration, and  as  far  as  I  have  heard  the  mass  of  the  people 
have  confidence  in  Mr.  Lincoln,  and  this  applies  to  the  people 
of  the  border  slave  states  as  well  as  the  free  states.  But  it 
is  not  worth  while  to  disguise  the  fact  that  a  large  majority 
of  the  free  states  in  the  Northwest  are  opposed  to  Ultra 
measures  and  the  people  of  the  slave  states  are  almost 
unanimous  against  coercion.  Many  appointments  that  have 
been  made  by  the  new  administration  were  unfortunate. 
It  must  necessarily  be  so  with  all  administrations,  and  Mr. 
Lincoln  has  had  more  than  his  share  of  trouble  in  making 
his  selection.  I  fear  that  a  majority  of  the  Senators  on  our 
side  care  but  little  for  his  success  further  than  it  can  con- 
tribute to  their  own  glory,  and  they  have  had  such  men  ap- 
pointed to  office  as  they  felt  would  serve  their  own  purpose 
without  any  reference  to  Mr.  Lincoln  and  but  little  for  the 
party.  .  .  . 

As  far  as  I  could  see  when  at  Washington,  to  have  been 
an  original  friend  of  Mr.  Lincoln  was  an  unpardonable 
offence  with  Members  of  Congress.  .  .  . 

I  have  the  utmost  confidence  in  the  success  of  Mr.  Lincoln 


but  I  do  not  expect  his  support  to  come  from  the  radical 
element  of  our  party.  .  .  . 

Your  true  friend, 

HON.  W.  H.  LAMON. 



SPRINGFIELD,  March,  18,  1861. 

DEAR  HILL, —  My  brother  is  foolish  enough  to  desire  an 
office.  —  When  you  see  him,  and  this,  if  he  still  insists  that 
he  has  as  good  right  to  a  place  as  anybody  else,  I  want  you 
to  do  for  him,  what  you  would  for  me.  No  more,  no 
less  — .  .  . 

Your  friend, 

O.  M.  HATCH. 

March  19,  1861. 

MY  DEAR  COLONEL,  — When  I  left  Washington  I  handed 
to  Judge  Davis  a  letter  setting  forth  what  I  wished  him  to 
do  for  me  in  Washington  if  it  met  his  views. 

I  desired  to  be  detailed  as  acting  Inspector  General  of  the 
Army  in  place  of  Emory  promoted  Lieutenant-Colonel  of 
the  Cavalry.  This  appointment  needs  only  an  order  of  the 
Secretary  of  War.  Mr.  Cameron  promised  Judge  Davis  to 
attend  to  it  at  once,  but  I  presume  he  has  overlooked  it. 
Will  you  do  me  the  favor  to  see  Cameron  on  the  subject  ? 
He  knows  all  about  it  and  precisely  what  to  do. 

I  hope  you  are  having  a  good  time  in  Washington.  I 
presume  you  are  as  you  seem  to  have  very  much  enjoyed  the 
excitement  along  the  road  and  in  Washington.  I  shall 
always  cherish  a  most  pleasant  remembrance  of  our  journey 

LETTERS,  317 

and  of  the  agreeable  acquaintances  and  friends  I  made  on 
the  road.  Among  the  last  I  have  rated  you  and  Judge 
Davis  with  peculiar  satisfaction  and  I  hope  you  will  always 
believe  that  I  shall  cherish  the  warmest  personal  regard  for 


Very  truly  your  friend, 


March  23,  1861. 

DEAR  HILL, —  The  public  mind  is  prepared  to  hear  of  the 
evacuation  of  Sumter,  but  it  is  a  great  humiliation.  Still  if 
Mr.  Lincoln  gives  the  order  you  may  swear  that  such  is  the 
public  confidence  in  him  it  will  be  at  once  taken  as  a  neces- 
sity of  the  situation. 

W.  H.  HANNA. 

BLOOMINGTON,  ILL.,  March  30,  1861. 

DEAR  HILL,  —  I  saw  the  " Telegraphic  Announcement" 
of  your  prospective  trip  to  Charleston  before  your  kind  and 
cordial  letter  was  received.  Yesterday,  the  "  Telegraph  " 
announced  your  return  to  Washington,  which  gratified  us 
all.  The  papers  represent  you  as  quite  a  Lion.  I  have  no 
doubt  you  bear  your  honors  meekly.  .  .  . 

I  am  anxious  about  the  country.  Are  we  to  be  divided 
as  a  nation  ?  The  thought  is  terrible.  I  never  entertained 
a  question  of  your  success  in  getting  to  and  from  Charleston. 

How  do  things  look  at  Washington  ?  Are  the  appoint- 
ments satisfactory?  No  foreign  appointments  for  the  border 
slave  states  ?  Is  this  policy  a  wise  one  ?  Off  here  it  does 
not  look  so  to  me. 

Did  Hawkins  Taylor  of  Iowa  get  anything  ?  .  .  . 

Your  friend, 


318  'APPENDIX. 

URBANA,  Apr.  6,  1861. 

DEAR  HILL,  —  The  Judge  and  I  are  now  attending  Court 
at  this  place,  the  only  wreck  of  that  troupe  which  was  once 
the  life  and  soul  of  professional  life  in  this  country.  I  see 
Judge  McLean  has  departed  this  life.  The  question  is 
who  shall  succeed  to  the  ermin  so  worthily  worn  by  him. 
Why  should  not  David  Davis  who  was  so  instrumental  in 
giving  position  to  him  who  now  holds  the  matter  in  the 
hollow  of  his  hand  ?  Dear  Hill,  if  retribution,  justice,  and 
gratitude  are  to  be  respected,  Lincoln  can  do  nothing  less 
than  to  tender  the  position  to  Judge  Davis.  I  want  you  to 
suggest  it  to  Lincoln.  ...  Of  course  you  will.  I  know  your 
noble  nature  too  well  to  believe  that  you  would  not  think 
of  a  suggestion  of  this  kind  as  soon  as  myself.  Write  me. 



BLOOMINGTON,  Apr.  7,  1861. 

DEAR  HILL,  —  Why  don't  you  write.    Tell  us  something. 

By  the  way,  since  McLean'sdeath  the  friends  of  Judge  Davis 
think  Lincoln  ought  to  put  him  on  Supreme  Bench.  Now  I 
want  you  to  find  out  when  this  appointment  will  be  made. 
Also  tell  Lincoln  that  Judge  Davis  will  be  an  applicant,  so 
that  he  may  not  ignore  the  fact  or  act  without  that  knowledge. 
I  wish,  too,  you  would  without  fail  go  immediately  to  Cam- 
eron, Caleb  B.  Smith,  and  Gov.  Seward  and  tell  them  Davis 
will  be  an  applicant.  Tell  Smith  what  I  know,  that  it  was 
through  the  Illinois  fight  and  Judge  Davis  that  Judd  went  out 
and  he  went  in,  and  we  think  we  ought  to  be  remembered  for 
it.  Now,  Hill,  I  know  you  are  bored  to  death,  but  our  mutual 
regard  for  the  Judge  must  make  us  doubly  industrious  and 
persistent  in  this  case. 

LETTERS.  319 

Write  immediately  what  the  chances  are,  how  Lincoln  feels 
about  it,  and  what  we  ought  to  do. 

Yours  truly, 


WASHINGTON,  April  8,  1861. 


MY  DEAR  SIR,  —  I  cannot  deny  the  request  of  the  Rev- 
erend Mr.  Wright,  so  far  as  to  enclose  the  within  letter.  I 
do  not  know  the  person  recommended  personally;  but  the 
Reverend  gentleman  who  writes  the  letter  is  a  most  esti- 
mable and  worthy  man,  whom  I  should  be  delighted  to  grat- 
ify if  I  felt  at  liberty  to  recommend  any  one,  which  I  do  not 
under  existing  circumstances. 

I  am  very  respectfully  your  obedient  servant, 


ST.  Louis,  Mo.,  April  n,  1861. 

DEAR  SIR,  —  On  the  3oth  of  July  last  I  was  assaulted  by 
twenty-five  outlaws  in  Texas  —  with  but  one  fighting  friend 
to  stand  by  me.  I  gave  an  honorable  compromise,  and 
came  forth  from  my  stronghold,  in  the  presence  of  my 
would-be  hangmen,  a  daring  Republican  and  a  fearless 
Lincoln  man.  But  it  afterwards  became  necessary  for  me 
to  leave  Texas  or  be  suspended.  As  I  preferred  dying  in  a 
horizontal  position,  /  left,  came  to  St.  Louis  and  am  now  at 
the  service  of  Mr.  Lincoln  and  our  Country.  If  war  is  made 
I  want  a  showing  in  Texas.  There  are  many  true  and  loyal 
men  there.  A  few  thousand  soldiers  thrown  in  there  to 
form  a  nucleus  around  which  the  Houston  Union  men  can 
rally  will  soon  form  a  barrier  to  rebellion  in  the  Southwest. 
When  the  "  ball "  opens  I  would  like  to  be  authorized  to 


raise  five  hundred  men  to  occupy  a  position  on  Red  River 
at  the  mouth  of  Bogy  Creek. 

What  can  you  do  to  assist  me  in  doing  something  of  the 
kind.     I  will  look  for  a  reply  to  this  in  a  few  days. 

Yours  truly, 

J.  E.  LEMON. 

BLOOMINGTON,  ILLINOIS,  April  16,  1861. 
COL.  W.  H.  LAMON  : 

DEAR  HILL,  —  I  send  you  the  result  of  a  public  meeting 
here  last  night.  We  are,  thank  God,  all  right.  .  .  . 

Secession,  disunion  and  even  fault  finding  is  done  with  in 
this  City.  We  shall  all  stand  firmly  by  the  administration 
and  fight  it  out. 

On  last  Monday  we  had  a  few  fights,  for  just  at  that  time 
we  could  not  and  would  not  allow  a  single  word  of  fault 
found  with  the  administration;  the  result  was  that  three 
Democrats  got  thrashed.  Just  then  we  were  hearing  the 
news  of  Fort  Sumter,  now  we  are  all  on  one  side. 

I  write  this  that  you  may  know  the  exact  truth  about  us. 
If  there  is  any  service  I  can  render  the  government  —  count 
me  always  on  hand  to  do  it.  Write  me  if  you  can  get  time. 

Your  friend, 

W.  H.  HANNA. 

INDIANAPOLIS,  INDIANA,  April  19,  1861. 

DEAR  SIR,  —  Sufficient  companies  have  been  formed  in 
Indiana  or  nearly  so  to  fill  the  six  Regiments  of  our  state. 
They  of  course  contain  all  classes  of  persons,  but  many  of 
them  are  our  best  and  dearest  youths  with  whom  it  has  cost 
many  a  sigh  and  burning  tear  to  part.  Thousands  more 

LETTERS.  321 

•will  soon  be  made  ready  to  join.  We  are  now  of  course 
intensely  anxious  about  the  Commandants  and  suppose  that 
the  President  will  have  the  appointment  of  those  officers, 
and  my  object  in  writing  this  is  to  request  you  -without  fail 
to  see  the  President  and  General  Cameron  and  say  to  them 
that  we  are  all  sensitive  upon  the  appointments  of  the  Brig- 
adier General  of  this  state,  and  say  to  them  that  the  appoint- 
ment of  a  mere  civilian  will  give  extreme  dissatisfaction  not 
only  to  the  troops  but  to  their  friends. 

I  name  no  person  of  that  character  who  is  an  aspirant  but 
I  regret  to  say  that  there  are  some  of  that  character  here. 
From  the  appointment  of  one  of  whom,  may  God  in  his  in- 
finite mercy  save  us. 

I  believe  every  man  in  our  State  will  arm,  and  those  who 
refuse  will  be  hung  and  their  property  confiscated.  There  is 
a  feeling  all  through  the  State  of  the  most  intense  character, 
wholly  indescribable.  I  can  do  nothing  of  business.  I  am 
now  helping  our  200  men  off,  encouraging  and  counselling 
them  what  I  can.  Unless  some  change  in  my  feelings  now 
strained  to  the  utmost  pitch,  I  shall  not  be  far  behind  them. 

Our  boys  are  taking  the  oath  in  the  Hall  of  the  House, 
and  the  telegraph  brings  intelligence  of  the  fighting  at  Balti- 
more and  the  burning  of  Harper's  Ferry.  The  boys  take  the 
oath  with  a  look  of  determination  to  do  or  die. 

All  our  fears  now  are  for  Washington.    May  God  preserve 

you  until  succor  comes. 

Ever  yours, 

J.  P.  USHER. 

I  am  so  excited  that  I  can  scarcely  write  legibly,  but  say  to 
the  President  that  the  entire  power  of  Indiana  with  all  its 
men,  women  and  children,  money  and  goods,  will  be  sacri- 
ficed if  necessary  to  sustain  the  government ;  the  treachery 
of  Virginia  only  intensifies  the  feeling. 

J.    P.    U. 



TERRE  HAUTE,  INDIANA,  May  5,  1861. 
W.  H.  LAMON,  Esq.: 

DEAR  SIR,  —  Since  I  wrote  to  you  on  the  igth  ult.  I 
have  been  at  Indianapolis  endeavoring  to  aid  the  Governor 
in  such  way  as  I  could.  My  desire  has  been  to  prevent  rash 
counsels  from  being  followed  and  from  incurring  unnecessary 
expense,  and  I  think  I  have  had  some  influence  in  keeping 
down  extravagance.  We  are  appalled  every  day  by  some 
new  development  of  the  dreadful  conspiracy  which  has  been 
formed  for  the  entire  overthrow  of  the  Government.  I 
hope  its  worst  has  now  been  realized  and  that  whatever  may 
occur  hereafter  will  be  for  the  better.  Of  one  thing  the 
President  may  rest  perfectly  satisfied,  that  the  entire  voice 
of  Indiana  is  for  the  most  vigorous  prosecution  of  the  War. 
I  have  no  doubt  but  that  50,000  men  could  be  raised  in  a 
month.  All  business  has  been  suspended  and  the  people  do 
not  expect  to  do  anything  until  the  war  is  ended.  My  desire 
is  that  it  be  pushed  as  fast  as  it  possibly  can,  not  rashly,  but 
rapidly  accompanied  by  such  necessary  severity  as  will  be  a 
terror  to  evil-doing.  We  have  nothing  to  expect  from  Ken- 
tucky or  Missouri,  they  remain  partly  quiet  because  of  their 
proximity  to  the  free  states.  My  opinion  is  that  they  will 
not  revolt  now,  or  if  they  do,  it  will  be  in  that  partial  way  to 
avoid  any  entire  destruction  for  the  industrial  interests  of 
those  states.  However  that  may  be,  they  refuse  to  answer 
to  the  call  of  the  President  for  volunteers  and  I  am  totally 
opposed  to  their  being  suffered  to  remain  in  the  attitude  like 
cow-boys  of  the  Revolution.  I  am  for  suspending  all  trade 
with  them,  if  they  will  not  furnish  their  quota  of  troops. 

If  you  please,  and  think  it  will  not  be  deemed  to  be  too 
impertinent  in  me,  say  to  the  President  that  my  opinion  is 
that  the  troops  at  Cairo  should  stop  all  boats  of  every  kind 
passing  down  the  river  and  that  no  provisions  whatever 
should  be  permitted  to  be  shipped  to  any  state  refusing  to 
furnish  their  quota  of  troops.  It  will  prevent  violence  here  : 

LETTERS.  323 

throughout  Indiana,  Ohio,  and  Illinois  most  of  the  people 
think  that  trade  of  all  kinds  with  the  rebels  should  cease, 
and  that  can  only  be  accomplished  by  the  proclamation  of 
the  President.  I  hope  he  will  make  the  proclamation.  Our 
people  want  it,  but  his  advisers  there  and  his  own  wisdom, 
in  which  I  have  all  confidence,  will  control.  The  people  of 
the  West  expect  him,  nay  all  the  civilized  world  expects  him 
to  press  forward  with  undeviating  firmness  until  the  rebel- 
lion is  crushed.  We  possess  nothing  too  valuable  for  the 
sacrifice.  Let  us  not  be  rash,  but  to  the  best  advantage  let 
us  put  the  lives  and  worldly  goods  of  us  all  upon  the  altar 
for  the  sacrifice,  for  the  preservation  of  the  government. 
Neither  life  nor  goods  will  be  valuable  or  worth  preservation 
if  the  Constitution  is  to  be  overthrown.  No  villainy  like 
this  has  ever  occurred  in  the  history  of  man,  or  one  that 
deserves  such  terrible  punishment.  I  believe  it  is  said  in 
history,  though  fabulous,  that  no  spear  of  grass  ever  grew 
where  Attila  stepped  his  foot.  I  do  most  religiously  hope 
that  there  will  be  a  foot  heavy  enough  to  let  down  upon  old 
Virginia  to  stop  the  growth  of  grass  for  a  time.  The  evil 
must  be  met,  and  we  were  never  in  a  better  condition  to  test 
our  patriotism. 

Western  Virginia  has  a  Convention  on  the  I4th;  how  will 
it  do  for  Indiana  to  send  a  Commissioner  ?  I  think  I  could 
get  Governor  Morton  to  send  R.  W.  Thompson.  Suppose 
you  ask  Lincoln  what  he  thinks  of  it.  Thompson  has  been 
taking  great  interest  in  the  war,  making  speeches  and  put- 
ting the  people  right.  I  have  no  doubt  he  will  be  much 
flattered  at  an  appointment  to  the  loyal  Virginians,  and  if  it 
is  thought  best  at  Washington,  I  think  I  can  have  it  done. 
I  shall  be  at  Indianapolis  for  a  day  or  two,  when  I  shall 
return  and  be  at  the  Charleston  and  Danville,  Illinois, 
Courts  for  the  next  two  weeks.  Don't  you  wish  you  could 
be  there? 

Most  truly  yours, 

J.  P.  USHER. 


BLOOMINGTON,  ILL.,  May  6,  1861. 

DEAR  HILL,  —  Your  anxious  and  harassing  state  at  Wash- 
ington during  those  perilous  times  has  so  occupied  your 
time  and  attention  that  you  have  not  had  any  leisure  to  write. 
I  have  not  heard  from  you  for  three  weeks.  For  the  last 
three  weeks  I  have  been  holding  court  in  Lincoln.  The 
excitement  about  enlisting  nearly  broke  the  court  up  for  two 
weeks.  I  was  at  Springfield  two  days  week  before  last  and 
found  everything  astir.  I  need  not  say  that  you  were 
missed  at  Lincoln  by  me  and  everybody  else.  Your  ab- 
sence was  regretted  by  everyone  and  yet  everyone  thought 
you  deserved  your  good  fortune. 

I  found  Trumbull  very  unpopular  with  the  members  of 
the  Legislature  and  other  parties  at  Springfield.  Douglas 
is  in  the  topmost  wave.  Douglas  would  beat  Trumbull  before 
this  legislature.  My  course  last  summer  in  using  my  best 
endeavors  to  elect  Trumbull  does  not  meet  with  my  own 

This  war  and  its  dreadful  consequences  affects  my  spirits. 
...  It  is  very  lonely  going  round  the  circuit  without  you. 


DANVILLE,  ILL.,  May  10,  1861. 

DEAR  HILL,  —  I  have  written  you  about  every  week  since 
I  left  Urbana.  Dan  Voorhees  has  been  here  for  two  days. 
He  is  a  devoted  friend  of  yours.  He  feels  badly  about  the 
state  of  the  country  but  is  for  the  maintenance  of  the 
Government.  .  .  . 

Mr.  [Joseph  G.]  Cannon  the  new  Prosecutor  is  a  pleas- 
ant, unassuming  gentleman  and  will  in  time  make  a  good 

I  need  not  tell  you  that  it  is  lonesome  here  —  on  account 

*  This  prophecy  was  certainly  fulfilled. 

LETTERS.  325 

of  your  absence.  This  is  my  last  court  here  and  no  lawyer 
is  practising  here  who  was  practising  here  when  I  held  my 
first  court.  This  is  emphatically  a  world  of  change. 

Your  friend  as  ever, 


WASHINGTON,  D.  C.,  June  4,  1861. 


MY  DEAR  SIR,  —  I  would  be  obliged  to  you  to  procure 
for  me  that  Presidential  interview  as  soon  as  practicable.  I 
do  not  wish  to  trouble  you,  but  I  am  in  a  considerable  hurry. 
I  wish  to  say  some  things  to  the  President  about  matters  in 
North  Carolina.  There  are  some  Union  men  there  yet. 

Respectfully  yours, 


BLOOMINGTON,  ILLINOIS,  August  25,  1861. 

DEAR  HILL,  —  Weare  making  great  preparations  for  war  in 
this  State,  and  will  have  twenty  thousand  men  in  camp,  besides 
those  already  in  Missouri,  in  a  very  short  time.  There  is  a  uni- 
versal demand  for  the  removal  of  Mr.  Cameron,  and  I  think 
after  all,  the  sooner  it  is  done  the  better.  Mr.  Lincoln  cer- 
tainly has  no  idea  of  the  universal  disposition  of  the  whole 
people  on  this  subject.  I  feel  that  Cameron  wants  to  render 
the  war  unpopular  by  mismanagement,  for  they  all  know 
that  if  this  war  is  successfully  prosecuted  that  all  the 
scoundrels  cannot  keep  Mr.  Lincoln  from  being  re-elected 

Do  tell  Mr.  Lincoln  this  thing,  tell  him  also  that  he  has 
the  confidence  of  all  parties,  except  the  traitors.  .  .  . 

I  know  Lincoln  well  enough  to  know  that  he  will  make  no 


mistakes,  if  he  will  consult  his  own  will  and  act  up  to  it 
bravely  and  without  hesitation.  It  is  the  best  time  in  the 
world  to  be  President,  but  he  must  be  all  President.  Half- 
way measures  will  only  now  tend  to  our  ruin  and  disgrace. 

I  fear  Trumbull  is  a  rascal,  —  the  idea  of  his  being  unpre- 
pared in  the  Senate  to  vote  for  the  resolution  approving  the 
act  of  the  President,  has  killed  him  off.  I  will  bet  you  a 
bottle  of  wine  that  he  sees  the  day  he  will  want  to  exchange 
that  little  speech.  .  .  . 

I  am  perhaps  too  impatient,  and  I  am  besides  under  some 
personal  obligations  to  Mr.  Cameron,  but  in  this  fight  I  care 
nothing  about  obligations  of  friendship  in  opposition  to  the 
welfare  of  the  country.  No  one  man  nor  any  number  of  men 
can  in  my  estimation  be  allowed  for  one  moment  to  stand  in 
the  way  of  good  government. 

Excuse  me  for  all  this  and  believe  me  in  everything.    I  am, 

Your  friend, 

W.  A.  HANNA. 

The  city  is  full  of  soldiers  and  we  are  all  marching  left 

foot  foremost. 

W.  H.  H. 

WILLARD'S  HOTEL,  7  P.  M.  Aug.  30,  1861. 

DEAR  SIR, —  General  Scott  notified  me  that  if  I  would 
make  an  arrangement  with  the  President  to  receive  the  Fort 
Sumter  Garrison  at  some  definite  time,  he  would  be  most 
happy  to  be  present  at  the  reception.  My  men  are  at  lei- 
sure either  to-morrow  or  Monday,  or  in  fact  any  time  during 
the  next  week.  Will  you  have  the  kindness  to  arrange  it 
and  let  me  know  the  result  ?  I  will  call  at  this  Hotel  for  your 


Yours  very  truly, 



LETTERS.  327 

FORT  LAFAYETTE,  Oct.  24,  1861. 

MY  DEAR  SIR,  —  It  is  nearly  three  months  since  I  have 
been  seized  and  held  as  a  close  prisoner  by  the  Government 
of  the  United  States.  No  charge  ever  has  —  none  can  be  — 
preferred  against  me,  —  and  yet  I  am  robbed  of  my  lib- 
erty —  separated  from  my  family  and  home,  and  have  been 
subjected  to  irreparable  pecuniary  loss.  Is  it  possible  that 
your  friend  Mr.  Lincoln  can  permit  such  acts  to  be  done 
in  his  name  and  under  his  administration  ?  It  is  not  possible 
for  me  to  give  you  in  a  brief  letter  a  just  view  of  my  rela- 
tions to  the  Government  or  of  its  conduct  to  me,  but  I  ask 
you  to  get  the  President  in  company  with  yourself  to  exam- 
ine my  correspondence  with  the  War  and  State  Departments, 
commencing  on  the  nineteenth  of  September.  After  their 
perusal  I  think  you  will  agree  with  me,  that  no  man  has  ever 
within  the  limits  of  the  United  States  been  more  unjustly 
deprived  of  his  liberty.  In  truth,  the  President  and  yourself 
will  reach  the  conclusion  that  the  honor  and  good  faith  of  the 
Government  demand  my  release. 

Yours  truly, 


In  1862  Hawkins  Taylor  wrote :  — 

Thinking  back  to  the  Presidential  Campaign  I  cannot  help 
but  think  how  strange  things  have  turned.  I  was  an  original 
Lincoln  man,  worked  for  him  before,  at,  and  in  the  State 
Convention  for  the  nomination  of  Delegates  to  the  Chicago 
Convention.  Grimes  scouted  the  idea  of  such  a  country 
lawyer  being  President.  When  the  Chicago  Convention 
came  off  Colonel  Warren,  knowing  that  I  was  scarce  of  funds 
and  knowing  my  anxiety  for  the  nomination  of  Mr.  Lincoln, 
sent  me  a  ticket  to  Chicago  and  back.  I  pledged  a  watch 
that  cost  me  $128  for  money  to  pay  expenses  there  and  to 
our  State  Convention. 


Colonel  Warren  also  went  to  Chicago,  and  to  my  own  cer- 
tain knowledge,  rendered  most  important  services  to  Mr. 
Lincoln.  At  the  State  Convention  he  was  put  at  the  head  of 
the  electoral  ticket,  canvassed  the  entire  state,  made  more 
than  one  hundred  speeches,  spent  his  money  by  the  hundreds. 
While  Grimes  made  two  or  three  speeches,  grum&ted  privately 
at  the  nomination,  damned  the  President  upon  all  occasions 
since  he  took  his  seat.  Yet  Grimes  has  controlled  the  entire 
patronage  of  the  State  of  Iowa  to  the  exclusion  of  Colonel 
Warren  and  all  his  friends.  How  can  Mr.  Lincoln  expect 
friends  in  Iowa  under  this  state  of  things  1 

ILLINOIS,  Feb.  12, 1862. 

...  By  the  bye  I  do  not  care  how  soon  you  come  back 
to  Illinois  provided  always  that  I  should  hate  for  Hale 
Grimes  &  Co.  to  have  their  way  in  driving  off  every  one  who 
does  not  believe  in  negro  stealing.  .  .  .  Yet  I  feel  a  good 
deal  like  they  profess  to  feel.  I  should  be  glad  to  see  the  poor 
negroes  free  and  provided  for,  but  the  abolition  leaders  seem 
to  me  to  entertain  more  hatred  to  the  owners  than  love  for 
the  negroes,  and  to  be  willing  to  sacrifice  Whites,  Negroes, 
Country  and  Constitution  to  the  gratification  of  their  ambi- 
tion and  malignity. 

I  feel  very  glad  at  the  progress  the  war  is  now  making  as 
I  do  hope  the  present  prospect  of  speedy  success  will  enable 
Lincoln  and  other  conservative  Republicans  and  Democrats 
to  set  at  defiance  the  ravings  of  the  abolitionists  and  univer- 
sal confiscation  men.  If  their  mouths  can  be  stopped  I 
have  now  good  hope  that  the  union  can  soon  be  restored 
and  that  a  few  months  will  bring  daylight  out  of  the  troubles 
of  the  Country.  .  .  . 

Yours  respectfully, 

S.  T.  LOGAN. 

LETTERS.  329 

NEW  ORLEANS,  Dec.  8,  1862. 

DEAR  HILL,  —  I  have  given  both  our  Representatives  from 
here  letters  of  introduction  to  you.  Messrs.  Flanders  and 
Hahn.  You  will  find  Flanders  old  enough  to  take  care  of 
himself,  but  I  desire  that  you  be  especially  attentive  to  Hahn 
as  I  want  him  to  defend  Mr.  Lincoln.  He  is  very  popular 
here  and  has  very  considerable  influence  and  can  do  Mr. 
Lincoln  a  great  deal  of  good.  See  that  he  falls  into  the 
right  hands,  —  men  who  support  the  policy  of  the  administra- 
tion. Both  men  are  now  right  and  I  depend  on  our  friends 
to  keep  them  right.  Let  me  hear  from  you. 

As  ever  your  friend, 

Quietly  say  to  Lincoln  to  cultivate  these  men  as  they  both 
desire  to  find  out  what  he  wants  and  they  will  do  it. 

J.  W.  S. 

12  NORTH  A  STREET,  Feb.  26, 1863. 

My  DEAR  SIR,  —  Mr.  J.  N.  Carpenter,  who  is  a  pay- 
master in  the  Navy,  has  always  borne  and  does  now  bear  the 
character  of  a  truthfully  upright  and  veracious  man.  I  am 
requested  to  say  this  of  him  to  you  and  I  give  my  testimony 
accordingly  without  knowing  what  the  object  may  be  of 
getting  it.  He  is  a  member  of  the  true  church  which  be- 
lieves in  the  ancient  gospel,  and  you  are  related  by  marriage 
to  the  same  establishment.  If  you  can  do  any  good  for 
Mr.  C.  you  will  recollect  that  it  is  done  unto  them  of  the 
household  of  faith  and  you  will  no  doubt  do  it  with  the  more 
alacrity  when  you  remember  that  Satan  also  takes  care  of 
his  own. 

I  am  most  respectfully  yours,  &c, 
HON.  W.  H.  LAMON.  J.  S.  BLACK. 


DECATUR,  ILL.,  March  24,  1863. 

COLONEL  WARD,  —  Received  a  letter  yesterday  from 
Judge  Davis  who  informs  me  that  you  and  Swett  joined  him 
heartily  in  efforts  to  secure  my  promotion,  that  this  was  all 
done  without  my  knowledge  or  encouragement,  from  pure 
motives  of  personal  attachment  and  kind  old  remembrances. 
Allow  me,  Sir,  to  thank  you  kindly  for  this  disinterested  and 
zealous  effort  to  benefit  and  honor  me.  I  did  not  deserve 
the  honor.  I  will  try  to  do  my  best,  however,  and  save  my 
friends  and  self  from  disgrace.  I  learn  you  are  prospering 
and  are  unchangeably  the  same.  I  hope  some  day  to  meet 
you  again  when  our  Country  will  allow  us  all  once  more  to 
feel  happy  and  at  rest. 

I  go  to  the  field  to-day,  although  I  am  far  from  well.  .  . 

Do  not  forget  to  remember  me  to  the  President  cordially. 
May  God  spare  his  life  many  years  yet.  I  hope  he  never 
despairs  or  falters  under  his  heavy  burden. 

Most  respectfully 
Your  friend, 

Marshal  of  D.  C. 

NASHVILLE,  January  10,  1865. 
To  WARD  H.  LAMON : 

DEAR  SIR,  —  I  am  anxious  to  have  a  young  Philadelphia 
lawyer  made  captain  of  the  regular  army,  and  I  know  of  no 
one  so  likely  to  present  the  matter  directly  to  Mr.  Stanton 
or  the  President  as  yourself.  Will  you  oblige  me  by  attend- 
ing to  the  matter  ?  I  am  suffering  from  a  fall  and  unable  to 
get  to  Washington. 

Most  respectfully  your  obedient  servant, 


LETTERS.  331 

KENTUCKY,  January  23,  1865. 
WARD  H.  LAMON,  Esq. : 

MY  DEAR  SIR,  —  ...  Please  remember  me  to  Mr.  Lincoln 
and  thank  him  for  his  great  kindness  shown  me  during  my  last 
visit  to  your  city.  I  do  hope  and  pray  that  he  may  stand 
firm  to  the  end  of  this  wicked  Rebellion,  and  while  he  ad- 
ministers mercy  so  freely  that  he  will  not  forget  justice.  I 
am  in  favor  of  mercy,  but  never  at  the  expense  of  justice. 
I  know  he  is  magnanimous.  He  is  too  much  so  sometimes,  I 
fear.  But  I  had  rather  trust  him  in  this  great  crisis  than 
any  other  man  living.  May  God  give  him  wisdom  to  direct, 
mercy  to  temper,  and  justice  to  balance  the  mighty  interests 
of  humanity  that  tremble  in  the  balance  ! 

I  should  be  happy  to  hear  from  you  at  an  early  date. 
With  kindest  wishes  for  your  health  and  prosperity, 
I  am,  dear  Sir, 

Your  most  obedient  servant, 


CHICAGO,  February  10,  1865. 

DEAR  SIR,  —  Enclosed  is  a  letter  which  I  wish  you  to  place 
in  the  hands  of  President  Lincoln  in  person. 

I  fear  it  will  not  get  to  him  until  action  is  had. 

I  am  very  sorry  to  trouble  him,  but  my  friends  demand  it 
of  me.  I  told  them  that  you  would  put  it  in  his  hands 


Your  obedient  servant, 


BLOOMINGTON,  ILL.,  April  4,  1865.* 

DEAR  HILL,  — ...  I  am  going  with  Governor  Oglesby 
to  visit  the  armies  of  Grant  and  Sherman,  and  shall  call  on 
you  in  passing. 

*  Only  ten  days  before  the  Assassination. 


We  have  glorious  news,  and  am  feeling  happy  over  it. 
I  hope  the  President  will  keep  out  of  danger;  the  chivalry 
are  a  greater  set  of  scoundrels  than  he  thinks  them  to  be. 

Mr.  Lincoln's  personal  safety  is  of  such  vast  importance 
to  the  country  at  this  time,  that  his  friends  feel  more  or  less 
solicitous  when  they  read  of  his  "going  to  the  front."  But 
he  has  made  a  glorious  trip  this  time. 

Your  friend, 

W.  H.  HANNA. 


January  31,  1874. 

MY  DEAR  SIR,  —  My  attention  has  been  directed  to  a 
"  Review  of  the  Life  of  Lincoln  "  which  appeared  in  the 
"  Christian  Union."  This  paper  was  by  many  attributed  to 
your  pen ;  it  certainly  must  have  received  your  editorial 

I  do  not  conceal  the  fact  that  some  of  its  criticisms 
touched  me  sharply  ;  but  I  determined,  after  no  little  delib- 
eration, that  it  was  better  to  submit  in  silence  to  whatever 
might  be  said  or  written  of  that  biography.  It  happens, 
however,  that  certain  lectures  delivered  by  Mr.  Herndon  of 
Illinois  have  renewed  the  discussion  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  un- 
belief, and  incident  to  that  discussion  some  of  the  bitterest 
enemies  of  my  own  have  taken  occasion  to  renew  their 
assaults  upon  me  for  what  my  honest  duty  as  a  biographer 
made  it  necessary  for  me  to  record  in  regard  to  so  important 
an  element  in  Mr.  Lincoln's  character. 

Many  of  these  self-appointed  critics  I  know,  and  have 
long  known.  Their  motives  need  no  interpretation.  Their 
hostility  to  me  is  very  great,  but  it  fails  to  equal  the 
treachery  with  which  they  betrayed  Mr.  Lincoln  while  liv- 
ing, or  the  hypocrisy  with  which  they  chant  his  eulogies 
when  dead. 

Their  malignment  of  the  lamented  President  during  the 
most  anxious  and  trying  period  of  his  administration  was 


so  outrageous  and  vindictive  that  if  Booth  had  wrapped  his 
bullet  in  a  shred  of  their  correspondence  he  might  have 
lodged  a  vindication  of  his  crime  in  the  brain  of  his  victim. 
But  these  men  could  have  no  connection  with  this  letter 
were  it  not  that  in  this  assault  upon  my  character  they  have 
claimed  the  authority  of  the  "  Union  "  to  sustain  one  of  their 
unjust  charges.  I  trust  you  will  pardon  the  earnestness 
with  which  I  protest  against  your  conclusions  as  to  myself, 
both  because  of  their  intrinsic  injustice,  and  the  sanction 
they  have  since  given  to  the  expression  of  others  who  can 
know  nothing  of  the  dignity  and  impartiality  which  belongs 
to  honest  criticism. 

When  the  life  of  Lincoln  was  written  it  was  my  honest 
purpose  to  give  to  the  world  a  candid,  truthful  statement  of 
all  facts  and  incidents  of  his  life  of  which  I  was  possessed, 
or  could,  by  diligent  investigation,  procure,  so  as  to  give  a 
true  history  of  that  wonderful  man.  I  was  well  aware  from 
the  first  that  by  pursuing  such  a  course  I  would  give  offence 
to  some  ;  for  who  that  ever  had  courage  enough  to  write  or 
utter  great  truths,  since  the  commencement  of  the  Christian 
era  to  the  present  time,  has  not  been  held  up  to  public  scorn 
and  derision  for  his  independence  ?  Knowing  this  and  yet 
believing  that  I  knew  Mr.  Lincoln  as  well,  and  knew  as 
much  about  him  as  any  man  living,  I  undertook  to  furnish 
biography,  facts,  truth,  history  —  not  eulogy  —  believing 
then,  as  I  believe  now,  that  the  whole  truth  might  be  told  of 
him  and  yet  he  would  appear  a  purer,  better,  and  greater 
man  than  there  is  left  living.  But  he  was  human,  composed 
of  flesh  and  blood,  and  to  him,  as  to  others,  belonged  ami- 
able weaknesses  and  some  of  the  small  sins  incident  to  men. 
He  was  not  perfect  as  a  man,  yet  with  all  his  humanity  he 
was  better  than  any  other  man  I  ever  knew  or  expect  to 
know.  He  was  not  a  Christian  in  the  orthodox  sense  of  the 
term,  yet  he  was  as  conscientiously  religious  as  any  man.  I 
think  I  am  justified  in  saying  that  had  Mr.  Lincoln  been 



called  upon  to  indicate  in  what  manner  the  biography  of 
him  should  be  written,  he  would  have  preferred  that  no  inci- 
dent or  event  of  his  life  should  be  omitted;  that  every 
incident  and  event  of  his  history  and  every  characteristic  of 
his  nature  should  be  presented  with  photographic  accuracy. 
He  would  have  been  content  that  the  veil  of  obscurity  should 
be  withdrawn  from  his  early  life.  All  that  was  rude  in  it 
could  detract  nothing  from  the  career  which  he  afterwards 
so  wonderfully  accomplished.  The  higher  elements  of  his 
character,  as  they  were  developed  and  wrought  their  effect, 
could  have  lost  nothing  in  the  world's  judgment  by  a  con- 
trast, however  strong,  with  the  weaker  and  cruder  elements 
of  his  nature.  His  life  was  a  type  of  the  society  in  which 
he  lived,  and  with  the  progress  and  development  of  that 
society,  advanced  and  expanded  with  a  civilization  which 
changed  the  unpeopled  West  to  a  land  of  churches  and  cities, 
wealth  and  civilization. 

In  your  comment  upon  that  part  of  the  biography  which 
treats  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  religion  you  say :  —  "A  certain  doubt 
is  cast  upon  his  argument  by  the  heartlessness  of  it.  We 
cannot  avoid  an  impression  that  an  anti-Christian  animus 
inspires  him."  And  you  further  say,  "He  does  not  know 
what  Lincoln  was,  nor  what  religion  is."  That  I  did  not 
know  what  Mr.  Lincoln  was,  I  must  take  leave  to  contradict 
with  some  emphasis;  that  I  do  not  know  what  religion  is,  in 
the  presence  of  so  many  illustrious  failures  to  comprehend 
its  true  character,  I  may  be  permitted  to  doubt.  Speaking 
of  Mr.  Lincoln  in  reference  to  this  feature  of  his  character, 
I  express  the  decided  opinion  that  he  was  an  eminently 
moral  man.  Regarding  him  as  a  moral  man,  with  my  views 
upon  the  relations  existing  between  the  two  characteristics, 
I  have  no  difficulty  in  believing  him  a  religious  man !  Yet 
he  was  not  a  Christian.  He  possessed,  it  is  true,  a  system 
of  faith  and  worship,  but  it  was  one  which  Orthodox  Christi- 
anity stigmatizes  as  a  false  religion. 


It  surely  cannot  be  a  difficult  matter  to  determine  whether 
a  man  who  lived  so  recently  and  so  famously  was  a  Christian 
or  not.  If  he  was  a  Christian  he  must  have  been  sincere, 
for  sincerity  is  one  of  the  first  of  Christian  virtues,  and  if 
sincere  he  must  have  availed  himself  of  the  promises  of  our 
Lord  by  a  public  profession  of  His  faith,  baptism  in  His  name 
and  membership  of  His  church.  Did  Mr.  Lincoln  do  this? 
No  one  pretends  that  he  did,  and  those  who  maintain  that 
he  was  nevertheless  a  Christian  must  hold  that  he  may 
follow  Jesus  and  yet  deny  Him ;  that  he  may  be  ashamed  to 
own  his  Redeemer  and  yet  claim  His  intercession;  that  he 
may  serve  Him  acceptably,  forsaking  nothing,  acknowledging 
nothing,  repenting  nothing. 

When  it  is  established  by  the  testimony  of  the  Christian 
Ministry  that  sinners  may  enter  Heaven  by  a  broad  back  gate 
like  this,  few  will  think  it  worth  while  to  continue  in  the 
straight  and  narrow  path  prescribed  by  the  Word  of  God. 
They  who  would  canonize  Mr.  Lincoln  as  a  saint  should 
pause  and  reflect  a  brief  moment  upon  the  incalculable 
injury  they  do  the  cause  which  most  of  them  profess  to  love. 
It  would  certainly  have  been  pleasant  to  me  to  have  closed 
without  touching  upon  his  religious  opinions ;  but  such  an 
omission  would  have  violated  the  fundamental  principle 
upon  which  every  line  of  the  book  is  traced.  Had  it  been 
possible  to  have  truthfully  asserted  that  he  was  a  member  of 
the  Church  of  Christ  or  that  he  believed  in  the  teachings  of 
the  New  Testament,  the  facts  would  have  been  proclaimed 
with  a  glow  of  earnest  and  unfeigned  satisfaction. 

In  conclusion  I  may  say  that  my  friendship  for  Mr.  Lin- 
coln was  of  no  recent  hot-house  growth.  Unlike  that  of 
many  who  have  made  me  the  subject  of  hostile  criticism,  it 
antedates  the  beginning  of  his  presidential  term  and  the  dawn 
of  his  political  triumphs.  I  had  the  good  fortune  to  be  in 
intimate  association  with  his  private  life  when  it  was  humble 
and  obscure,  and  I  was  near  him  too  in  the  darkest  hour  of 


his  executive  responsibility,  until,  indeed,  the  first  rays  of 
God-given  peace  broke  upon  the  land.  I  can  say,  with  truth 
that  none  can  assail,  that  I  retained  his  confidence  unshaken 
as  he  retained  my  affections  unbroken  until  his  life  was 
offered  up  as  a  crowning  sacrifice  to  domestic  discord  at  the 
very  threshold  of  his  and  the  nation's  triumph.  Is  it,  there- 
fore, likely  that  words  of  mine,  written  or  spoken,  should  do 
purposed  injustice  to  his  memory?  With  the  most  profound 
respect,  I  am 

Very  truly  your  obedient  servant,